Sunday, May 26, 2013

Review: Justice (Galilee Falls Trilogy #1) by Jennifer Harlow

Release Date: May 15, 2013
Publisher: Devil on the Left Books
Source: Provided by author
Author Links: Website | Twitter | GoodReads
Buy Links: Available only at Amazon

It’s hard being a regular police officer in Galilee Falls, a city with the highest concentration of superheroes and villains in the country. It’s even harder watching your best friend, the man you’re secretly in love with your whole life, planning to marry another woman. Detective Joanna Fallon has to contend with both. When the vilest supervillain in the city’s history, Alkaline, the former crime boss who can shoot acid from his wrists, escapes from the maximum security prison, the whole city is gripped by panic. Leading the pursuit is Captain Harry O’Hara, Joanna’s boss and secret lover, and the city’s champion superhero Justice, who caught the villain last time, much to Joanna’s chagrin. Before her father was murdered in a mugging twenty years earlier, Joanna worshiped the hero, but when he disappeared and failed to save her father, that adoration turned to contempt for all supers. After Alkaline attacks too close to home and targets Joanna as his next victim, tough-as-nail Joanna has to contend with her increasing fear while struggling to choose between her life-long crush and her new-found love.

At turns vulnerable and fierce, equally mordant and winsome, Joanna is an earnest yet emotionally damaged heroine, who despite the tough breaks of her childhood sees the good in people and vow to protect her beloved city at all costs. An ass-kicking petite firecracker with no superpowers of her own, she charges after supervillains unflinchingly, never losing her wit even when facing her toughest fight. With a coy blend of whimsy and vivid imagination, she delivers both humor and thrills in an action-packed and edgy blend of comic book cool, fantasy-noir, and bitter-sweet romance.

Wow. Justice has become one of my favorite reads so far this year!  

After reading the synopsis I knew there was no way I could pass up a story about superheroes, supervillains, a complicated romance, and an emotionally damaged protagonist. But I had no idea that I would be pulled in so completely that I would have the entire novel read in one night.

Justice had a unique feel to it. There was a fantasy element with the superheroes, supervillains and the special powers they possessed. But it was also a mystery with detectives piecing together clues in order to apprehend the bad guys. And it was a romance as well, filled with complications, difficult choices, and plenty of heartache. All of these combined created a refreshing new story that stood apart from any others that I've read.

Although the story revolves around superheroes and supervillains, the real heroes of Justice are the members of the Galilee Falls Police Department. The protagonist, Detective Joanna Fallon, is a member of GFPD's Priority Homicide division. She's a complex character with a lot of admirable qualities and plenty of faults that made her feel more real and relatable. Even if she made decisions I didn't agree with, the reasons were always understandable and felt true to her character. 

What I loved most about Joanna was her courage and determination. She wasn't afraid of taking on villains that possessed superpowers. She was confident that with their guns, intellect, instincts, and perseverance that GFPD had all of the tools they needed to deliver justice. She was also selfless, refraining from interfering with her best friend's relationship even though it was tearing her up inside. 

I also enjoyed reading about the darker aspects of Joanna's character. She had a difficult past that had a large affect on her life. When she was a young girl she lost her father to a violent crime and this drove her to depression and a suicide attempt. 

As a result of his death, she harbors ill feelings toward superheroes, especially Justice, since she felt that he should have been there to save her father's life. Now she views them simply as vigilantes and an unwelcome interference. This is particularly a problem since Justice often shows up unexpectedly and seems to have taken an interest in her safety.

Relationships also proved to be a difficult part of Joanna's life. She's in love with her childhood friend who saved her when she was only 12. But he's marrying a woman who even Joanna admits is perfect for him. She has never seen him happier, so she must plaster on a fake smile and suffer through the gut-wrenching heartache and jealousy for the sake of her best friend. And to complicate matters even further, Joanna has a secret relationship with her boss, Lieutenant Harry O'Hara. 

In addition to her emotional troubles, Joanna must deal with the escape of a very dangerous villain who has the entire city in fear. It becomes her job not only to comb through evidence and investigate witnesses, but she is also given the responsibility of holding press conferences to update the media and reassure the public. 

During the investigation she discovers her life is in danger when the villain begins leaving clues that show Joanna is his next intended victim.

The ending to Justice broke my heart and I'm still recovering from the emotional turmoil. By the time it was all over, sacrifices were made and lives were turned upside down. But we ultimately learn that you don't have to possess superpowers to be a hero and that, in time, the side of good will always prevail.

This story isn't aimed solely at fans of superheroes. It's for anyone who enjoys complex characters, complicated relationships, crime fighting and intriguing mysteries. And really, who wouldn't enjoy all of that? 


Sharonda SexxyBlogger said...

Wow! yes who wouldn't enjoy this story indeed. Great review Cat. I'm gonna have to check this one out.

Arely ZPerez said...

Huh. This sounds like a really good book! I haven't read many superhero novels out there, but you've convinced me! I'll check this out :)

Jennifer Harlow said...

Happy reading!

fishgirl182 said...

ooh this sounds good. superheroes and a complicated romance? sign me up! i love stories where it's about the every man being a hero. putting this on my tbr list right now!

fishgirl182 @ nite lite book reviews

Jennifer Harlow said...

Fishgirl and Sharonda-e-mail me when the review is up and I'll cross promote it!

Braine TS said...

I skimmed because I have yet to read this but glad to see you approve. i love JHarlow, she's hilarious!

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