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Benjamin Justice, a disgraced journalist in his mid-forties, is slowly putting his life back together. Under contract to write his tumultuous life story, Justice is trying to put all the elements of his life into perspective for the first time. When trying to locate his childhood priest, however, he runs into a bureaucratic stone wall. Then his best friend's fiance, a Lost Angeles Times columnist, is killed in a tragic and suspicious hit-and-run accident shortly after trying to aid Justice in his search. ...
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Benjamin Justice, a disgraced journalist in his mid-forties, is slowly putting his life back together. Under contract to write his tumultuous life story, Justice is trying to put all the elements of his life into perspective for the first time. When trying to locate his childhood priest, however, he runs into a bureaucratic stone wall. Then his best friend's fiance, a Lost Angeles Times columnist, is killed in a tragic and suspicious hit-and-run accident shortly after trying to aid Justice in his search. Reluctant at first, Justice soon finds himself in the midst of a complex case involving a decades-old child murder, a powerful and controversial cardinal, and elements of his own dark past.
Posted October 3, 2003
Now in his mid-40's, HIV+ and single since his boyfriend moved out of the country, the Benjamin Justice we find here seems significantly subdued from the fiery, brash investigative journalist we met in Wilson's first four books in the series, which started a dozen years earlier. Back then, Justice had managed to short-circuit a promising journalism career by fabricating some interviews for a story which won a Pulitzer Prize, and was caught. Writing assignments had been few and far between since then. In the past five years, Benjamin had not worked, living simply and frugally, but recently got an advance to write his biography, which gives him some apprehensions about reliving part of his past he'd rather not revisit. His only current link to his former profession is his best friend Alexandra Templeton, a reporter for the Los Angeles Times, who is secretly engaged to columnist Joe Soto, a longtime friend as well. In making notes on his biography, Justice faces his long-buried feelings about having been molested at ages 12-13 by a parish priest back in Buffalo NY. To bring closure to that episode in his life, he seeks out information about the priest, and learns that he actually had been transferred to the Los Angeles archdiocese a few years after his encounters, and died in a reported hiking accident about ten years ago. Justice presses the local diocese officials for more information, whether there had been further reports of molestations or if he had indeed been 'rehabilitated,' and is surprised when the 'sorry, that's confidential' response comes from the office of the Bishop himself. Justice smells a coverup, and talks his friend Joe Soto into doing a column about an 'anonymous' reader who reported abuse by the priest, and the strange reaction received from the diocese. The mystery quickly grows from there, as Joe Soto is killed in a suspicious hit-and-run accident, with some evidence suggesting that the driver may have been an infamous South American hired assassin, who usually works for drug cartels. At the same time, reaction to Soto's column triggers letters from readers with additional reports of mollestations by the priest, creating more questions than answers, especially when one such reader mysteriously dies in a fall from the hospital where she worked. When the diocese offers him a million dollars to end his investigations, Justice becomes more assured that the bishop (which had been a close friend of the priest in question) may be involved, and perhaps even the presiding Cardinal, who is under strong consideration to be the next pope. Absolute nail-biting suspense, with passages of outright terror, make this, in my opinion, the best of the series. Realistic, street-saavy characters and scenarios, with an eye for detail that makes him one of the best.
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