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A Higher Justice    by James Scott Bell order for
Higher Justice
by James Scott Bell
Order:  USA  Can
Bethany, 2003 (2003)
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

As one of the few female attorneys in Los Angeles, Kit Shannon has a great deal stacked against her. Despite this, she is not afraid to fight for truth and justice. In the second book in The Trials of Kit Shannon series, Kit finds herself defending two different clients, both with the odds stacked firmly against them.

Winnie Franklin's young son is killed in a trolley car accident. Despondent with grief, she clings to hope that Kit may be able to recover damages from the company. However, greed and corruption run rampant in the municipal transport industry, and Kit is shut out at every juncture. As the pieces to the puzzle start to fall into place, Kit finds that those involved with the incident will stop at nothing to discredit her both personally and professionally.

Mousy Malloy is accused of the attempted murder of Ellis Dyke, son of a prominent railroad owner. Mousy, a drunkard, was challenged to a drinking contest by Dyke that got out of control. Kit sees that the case will be a difficult one to win due to the people involved, but she believes in Mousy's innocence. Just how far will the sinister people behind the crimes go to cover up their actions? How are the two cases connected?

James Scott Bell has written another intriguing novel in which he weaves together historical fact and fictional characters into a seamless and engaging tale. The inclusion of actual people and events from America's past reflect a great deal of research. This gives life to history that might be dull if read only from a textbook. Famous people such as Jack London and Carry Nation add reality and name recognition to the story. Kit is a strong female character and her assertiveness makes her a role model for women of all ages. She clings to her faith in God even when it seems the world is falling apart around her.

The information about the legal system of the early 1900's is fascinating, and shows just how far things have come legally, but also reminds the reader of the groundbreaking that attorneys accomplished during that time period. The cases Kit tries are multi-layered and show how deep corruption can go. I would like to see Kit's response to a client who is truly guilty explored in a future book, since it seems unlikely that one attorney could represent so many wrongfully accused clients.

The final chapters of A Higher Justice make reading this entire novel worthwhile. I honestly did not see the conclusion coming. It is an exciting ride to the end! Fans of legal thrillers and Christian fiction should check out The Trials of Kit Shannon series. The main characters continue from each book, but A Higher Justice can stand alone. The third book, A Certain Truth, is due out in the summer of 2004.

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