Barbara Levenson,
Justice in June
(CreateSpace, 2014)

Barbara Levenson's Justice in June is certainly a page-turner! Both the main plots were well thought out and nicely twisty, and the confusion on Mary's part about what was related to what case was interesting and well handled.

Usually in mysteries, the diverse threads all end up being a part of one plot; I hope it's not too much of a spoiler to appreciate that Levenson did less of that here, all the while using confusion about what was related to what in a very believable way.

The third plot on the description was simple, straightforward and easily resolved.

I do have to say, though, that the tone was very choppy. This happened, and then that happened, and then this other thing, without much in the way of transitions. It gives the novel a lot of energy, but makes it less coherent as a novel.

This was even more true with the characters and their dialogue -- it was so often disconnected! People would jump from topic to topic randomly in one paragraph! And while that would be an interesting thing to do with one character -- when they're all doing it, it does not differentiate their voices or improve character cohesion. It did not help that everyone here seemed to have a chip on their shoulder, and often flew into a rage at any possible provocation. While it did keep things moving, it felt arbitrary to me and did not make me like the characters. That amount of volatility just does not seem grounded.

I also did not care for the fact that Mary's first approach, pretty much always, to being thwarted was to threaten people. It also seemed unrealistic that this always worked for her; I'd think she'd have some problems as a result of going to Mutual Assured Destruction so rapidly.

As I said above, it's a page-turner. Many of the flaws I saw in the book would probably be less noticeable if I were not a very fast reader. I did like it, especially the plotting, but I think a somewhat calmer approach would show that off better.

book review by
Amanda Fisher

9 August 2014

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