Christy Award-winning novelist and lawyer Singer (Directed Verdict) lets the action sprint out of the gate with a murder in the first few pages. With murderer and victim dead, the moral issue of gun control takes center stage in the book, with a number of side dilemmas. The opposing counsels in the gun control case are young, ambitious lawyers, and both have hidden sins that could sink their careers. A law firm that both worked for further complicates the action. Singer piles the moral and plot complexities a bit too high; the backstories of main characters Jason Noble and Kelly Starling are relevant, but the tangled relationship between Jason and his cop father bogs down the action. The legal-thriller genre lends itself to the pattern of conversion that evangelical Christian novels require, and Singer offers logical character developments that aren't heavy-handed. The only stock feature in this well-plotted novel is the generic, fakey-sounding names (Brad Carson, Kelly Starling). But that's a quibble about a book that will entertain readers and make them think-what more can one ask? (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
The Justice Gameby Randy Singer
After the target of an investigative report storms a Virginia Beach television station, he kills one of the anchors before the SWAT team takes him down. Following the victim’s funeral, her family files a lawsuit against the gun company who manufactured the killer’s weapon of choice. The lawyers for the plaintiff and defendantKelly Starling and Jason Nobleare young, charismatic, and successful. They’re also easy blackmail targets, both harboring a personal secret so devastating it could destroy their careers. Millions of dollarsand more than a few livesare at stake. But as Kelly and Jason battle each other, they discover that the real fight is with unseen forces intent on controlling them both.
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THE JUSTICE GAME
By RANDY SINGER
TYNDALE HOUSE PUBLISHERS, INC.Copyright © 2009 Randy Singer
All right reserved.
Chapter OneRACHEL CRAWFORD CLOSED HER EYES while the show's makeup artist, a spunky woman named Carmen, did a quick touch-up.
"The sun looks good on you," Carmen said. "The Diva's fake 'n bake turns her orange."
"The Diva" was WDXR prime-time anchor Lisa Roberts. Lisa treated the staff like dirt and was easy to hate. Five foot ten with long, skinny legs, Lisa always complained about how much weight the camera added to her figure. Her chair had to be adjusted higher than everyone else's, the camera always had to be positioned to capture her left side (exposing a mole on her left cheek that she considered sexy), and her water had to be cold with just the right amount of ice.
"Maybe my next report will be on tanning beds," Rachel said. Carmen removed the makeup cape, and Rachel checked herself out in the mirror.
She was no Lisa. A little shorter, heavier, with more of a girl-next-door look. But Rachel had one thing Lisa didn't-it was the reason for her glow.
"I hear tanning beds cause cancer," Carmen said, perking up with the thought. "Not just skin cancer, either-liver, thyroid, all kinds of nasty stuff."
Rachel did a subtle sideways twist, so casual that Carmen didn't notice. The blouse Rachel wore fit loosely-not so much as to beobvious, but just loose enough. She would have a few more weeks before her secret was out.
As a new reporter for the WDXR I-team, Rachel had been working on a piece about the effect of cell phones on pregnant women. In two weeks, she would break her own exciting news on air as part of that piece. For at least one night, Lisa wouldn't be the center of attention. Tonight, however, she had a very different story to cover.
"Thanks, Carmen," Rachel said. She scooped up her pad and water bottle and headed toward the door. "This water's way too warm," she said, mocking Lisa's perfect diction. Carmen cackled.
"Plus, it goes straight to my hips," Carmen shot back, cocking her chin in the air as she gave Rachel a dismissive little shake of the head.
Rachel smiled and left the makeup room, settling into investigative reporter mode. Most of tonight's report was already on tape. Things had gone well during the 5 p.m. newscast. What could possibly go wrong at six?
She loved her job. Yet she loved the thought of being a mother even more. She wanted to do both-part-time I-team reporter and full-time mom. But that was a conversation for another day.
* * *
Rachel fiddled with her earpiece, listening to the show's producer give Lisa Roberts and Manuel Sanchez, Lisa's co-anchor, instructions about the next few segments. Rachel sat up as straight as possible, though she would still be a few inches shorter than Lisa, and smiled at the camera. The show's producer started the countdown. Lisa didn't change her scowl until the man said zero, triggering a magical transformation from spoiled Diva to devoted and caring newswoman.
"Over three thousand international college students come to Virginia Beach each summer to work in the resort city," Lisa said, reading the prompter. "An unlucky few end up being victims of the sinister human trafficking industry. I-team reporter Rachel Crawford has the details."
Lisa held her pose as they transitioned to the I-team tape. She might be hard to stomach, but she was a pro. Lisa's cover-girl looks and unshakable poise would soon carry her beyond the Norfolk market, away from the place Lisa scornfully referred to as a "dead-end Navy town," the place Rachel loved and called home.
Rachel watched the report for about the fortieth time and allowed herself a brief moment of pride. The segment started with a few shots of The Surf, a popular Virginia Beach hangout, with a voice-over from Rachel about the way international student workers helped keep the place afloat. They had video of two Eastern European women tending bar, waiting tables, even taking out the trash. The camera angles had been carefully selected so the viewers could never quite get a good look at the students' faces. The tape cut to Rachel, standing in front of the bar, a serious tilt to her head.
"But a few of these girls, who talked to WDXR under condition of anonymity, said there was a dark side to their summer at the Beach."
The next shot featured Rachel interviewing one of the workers. The editors had blocked out the student's face and digitally altered her voice. She talked about the owner of The Surf-Larry Jamison-the man who had promised the girls jobs and paid for them to come to America.
"If you didn't become one of 'Larry's girls,' you could never get out of debt, no matter how hard you worked. Plus, there were threats."
As Rachel explained the scam, a Web site appeared on-screen. The girl's images were distorted but it was obviously a porn site, one that Rachel had traced back to Larry Jamison.
"We asked Mr. Jamison about these charges," Rachel said on the tape. "He refused to be interviewed for this report."
In a few seconds, they would be live again. Rachel checked her earpiece and turned toward Lisa. She heard a pop that startled her-it might have been a few pops-something like firecrackers, coming from the other side of the studio's soundproof door. She glanced at the doors but nobody else seemed bothered by it.
"Five seconds," said a voice in her ear. "Four, three, two, one ..."
A cameraman pointed to Lisa, and she turned toward Rachel. "Those girls you interviewed seemed so vulnerable," Lisa said. "Did they understand they could press charges against this guy?"
Out of the corner of her eye, Rachel noticed a flash of commotion at the back of the studio. Like a pro, she stayed focused on Lisa, explaining why the girls were not willing to come forward.
"Hey!" someone yelled. "He's got a gun!"
Shots rang out as Rachel swiveled toward the voices, blinded by the bright lights bearing down on her. She heard more shots, screams of panic and pain-pandemonium in the studio. "Get down!" someone shouted.
There was cursing and a third barrage of shots as Rachel dove to the floor, crawling quickly behind the anchor desk-a fancy acrylic fixture that certainly wouldn't stop a bullet. Overhead, the suspended "on-air" monitor blinked off. In the chaos, Rachel looked over to see Lisa, wide-eyed with fear, her fist to her mouth, shaking with a silent sob.
For a moment, everything was still.
Chapter TwoRACHEL HUDDLED BEHIND THE DESK, paralyzed by fear. Her breath came in short, staccato bursts, miniature explosions into the deafening silence. She pressed both hands against her face, half praying, half listening-shaking with terror.
She heard footsteps and heavy breathing.
She gasped when she caught the gunman in her peripheral vision, towering over her-Larry Jamison, the target of her I-team report. The man was wild-eyed, his gray hair disheveled, his face red and stubbled. He pointed a flat black pistol at her that looked like a chopped-off version of a weapon from a Rambo movie. He hit the magazine release and jammed a second magazine into the gun as the first one hit the floor.
"You're the one," Jamison hissed, grabbing her by the hair and yanking her to her feet. He pressed the barrel into the small of her back. From behind, he wrapped his left arm around her neck and wrenched her close. Rachel could smell sweat and alcohol, his putrid breath moist on her ear.
"Everybody at your posts!" he demanded. "I want this show live in two minutes or this sweet thing dies."
Trembling, Rachel scanned the studio. One of the cameramen, a gentle giant Rachel had spoken with on many occasions, lay next to his camera, blood pooling from his chest. She noticed a young female camera operator hunched in a corner. The control booth had been deserted. She couldn't see Lisa and Manuel-they must have crawled to the other side of the anchor desk.
"Get back to your camera!" Jamison shouted at the woman in the corner. He fired several rounds into the wall above her head. Sparks flew and she screamed, scrambling to her station. "Two minutes," Jamison repeated. "I'm talking to one of my partners on my Bluetooth right now. He's waiting for the television signal."
Rachel fought for breath as Jamison squeezed his left arm tighter around her neck, dragging her toward the end of the anchor desk where Lisa and Manuel sat huddled together on the floor. Jamison pointed his gun at Lisa. "Looky here."
He laughed as she stared at him in horror. "Get back behind your desk. We've got a show to put on."
Trembling and sobbing, Lisa stood. She backed slowly away from Jamison, climbing into her anchor seat.
"Good girl," he said. He pointed his gun at Manuel and squeezed Rachel's windpipe tighter with his left arm. The room was beginning to spin.
"We're not on the air yet," he hissed, his frustration showing. "Somebody get in that control room."
Manuel glanced quickly at the booth. "They're gone."
"I can see they're gone!" Jamison shouted. He turned and unloaded another stream of bullets toward the control booth, the gunshots echoing in Rachel's ear. The bullets shattered the glass of the booth into tiny shards that dropped onto the sound and edit board.
He again pointed the gun toward Manuel. "Get us on the air."
Manuel shook his head, beads of sweat popping on his forehead even in the clammy cool air of the studio. "I c-can't ... don't know how."
"Then you're useless."
Manuel opened his mouth-a silent plea, too scared to talk.
Rachel was losing consciousness fast, the edges of her vision going dark. How many shots has Jamison fired? How many are left? She said a quick prayer and threw her elbow backward into his gut, heard him grunt, and tried to squirm free. She had nearly twisted out of his arm, but he drove the corner of the gun's rectangular magazine against her skull. The blow knocked her to the ground. Dizzy, she could feel blood oozing down her forehead.
She looked up at Jamison with blurred vision. She blinked and crawled a few feet backward.
"You think I'm playing games?" Jamison asked.
Terrified, Rachel shook her head. He smiled at her and popped a second magazine out, quickly jamming a third into place.
Jamison tilted his head back and shouted. "We're not on the air! Every minute we're not on the air, somebody dies!"
He took a step closer and looked down at Rachel. "Maybe I'll start with you." His eyes flashed with excitement. "Put your hands behind your back and lie facedown."
Rachel did as she was told, fighting panic. To her left, she saw a flicker of movement, a crouching figure. She forced herself not to look. She hoped it was Bob Thomas, the show's director, a tall and lanky man who had disappeared once the gunshots started. Bob would not let her die.
Jamison walked over to Rachel. He stepped over top of her, straddling her. His breath came in short, hard bursts.
For a split second contempt battled her fear. She wouldn't beg for this man-he'd fire anyway. But she knew she needed time. She closed her eyes. "Please don't hurt me," she said. "I can help you get out of this."
Jamison laughed-a fake, contemptuous chortle. "Look at me," he said softly.
She opened her eyes and looked over her shoulder, her neck craned as she stared at her tormentor. He bent closer, his face twisted with the pleasure of revenge. The black barrel of the gun dominated her field of vision, his maniacal grin forming the backdrop. "You need to learn a little humility," he said. "You don't know what it means to beg, do you?"
He grabbed her hair and pulled her head back farther. "Please," she said, tears stinging her eyes. Pain throbbed on her cheek and radiated from her neck. She closed her eyes, but the image of the black barrel and Jamison's face wouldn't go away. "Please don't shoot."
"That's not begging," Jamison said. He let go of her hair and her head dropped toward the floor. She braced herself, feeling helpless, waiting for the impact of the bullet. She thought about Blake, her husband. About the tiny life sheltered in her womb. It was supposed to be a safe place.
"Open your eyes!"
She did. Just in time to see Jamison turn the gun on Manuel Sanchez. "Say good-bye to your buddy."
"No!" she shouted.
Before Manuel could move, Jamison fired. Rachel gasped as a small hole opened in the middle of Manuel's forehead. He grunted-the air fleeing his body-and slouched to the floor.
Rachel saw Manuel's eyes go glassy as blood poured from his head. She turned away, vomit rising in her throat.
"You need to learn how to beg," Jamison said, his voice flat. "Now get in your seat."
Rachel got to one knee, and the room started spinning. She hesitated, wiping blood away from her eyes and mouth. She watched Jamison kick Manuel's lifeless body, rolling the co-anchor onto his back.
"Hurry up!" he said.
She stood slowly, thinking about Manuel. Watching him die had changed things. Instead of making Rachel more afraid, it somehow steeled her. She felt responsible for Manuel's death-this whole thing was her fault. Jamison was here because of Rachel. Now it was up to her to think clearly. Somebody had to make sure there was no more bloodshed until help arrived.
She staggered to her seat, keeping a wary eye on Jamison. He had moved behind Lisa.
"Get us on the air," he said to Lisa.
"I'm trying," Lisa said, her voice shaking, lips trembling. "But please ..." she choked out, "stop pointing that gun at me."
"You've got thirty seconds," Jamison said.
Lisa caught her breath. She pointed to a spot on the right side of the studio. "Behind there," she said, "is our director. He can run the control booth."
"Nice," Jamison said.
He walked over to the camera and forced Bob Thomas out of his hiding spot, ordering him into the control booth. A minute or two later, the large television on the floor in front of the anchor desk and the other television suspended from the ceiling changed from a technical difficulties message to a live shot of the desk. Rachel was shocked by her own appearance, blood streaking down her face and staining her blouse. She pushed back her hair and waited.
How long before a SWAT team storms this place?
Jamison was just one man. Surely if the four of them acted together ...
Jamison settled in next to the sole camerawoman operating the huge boom camera. She had it on a wide-angle shot that showed both Lisa and Rachel. Jamison kept the gun on Rachel, periodically glancing over his shoulder to check the studio door.
"This is Larry Jamison!" he yelled, his voice loud enough to be picked up by the wireless mikes that Lisa and Rachel wore. "You've just seen vicious lies broadcast by this television station. Now you're about to hear the truth.
"Introduce yourself!" Jamison shouted. He pointed the gun at Lisa.
"I'm Lisa Roberts," she said, her voice unsteady, an octave higher than normal. Out of habit, she looked straight at the camera.
Jamison swung the gun toward Rachel. For a moment, just long enough to show the slightest flicker of resistance, Rachel didn't speak.
"And I'm Rachel Crawford," she eventually said, "a member of the WDXR I-team."
"Ten minutes ago, this woman lied to you!" Jamison shouted. "And now she's going to stand trial for it."
He checked over his shoulder one more time and then moved forward, circling around behind the anchor desk so that he stood between Lisa and Rachel. Rachel watched as Jamison checked himself out on the TV monitors, then pointed the gun at the side of her head.
God help me.
Excerpted from THE JUSTICE GAME by RANDY SINGER Copyright © 2009 by Randy Singer. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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This is the first book that I have read by Randy Singer but it won't be the last. I have long been a John Grisham fan & have always been in search of an author of similar quality. Randy Singer's writing style is awesome & the addition of a spiritural element has earned a new lifelong fan.
If you like the law and back ground of the wowrk that goes into a trial don't miss.
In Virginia Beach, Larry Jamison assaults the WDXR news station whose reporters were doing an investigative story on him; he executes anchor Manuel Sanchez and demands they go on the air and kills the reporter pregnant Rachel Crawford on live TV before the SWAT unit kills him. After the funeral, Rachel's family sues the gun company MD Firearms who made the killer's semi-automatic assault weapon. The plaintiff lawyer is Kelly Starling while the defense is represented by Jason Noble. Bot are yuppies filled with ambition. They also worked at the same firm at one time and each has secrets that will derail their careers if revealed. Let the latest trial of the century begin with the media watching every move of the two legal teams and the judge. This is an exciting Christian legal thriller that focuses on the legal adversaries Jason Noble and Kelly Starling as much as on the Second Amendment issues especially is a semi automatic assault weapon protected by the Constitution. The story line is very entertaining from the onset and never slows down as the cast is fully developed. Although the dysfunctional relationship between Jason and his father is fascinating, it is irrelevant to the bigger questions of the rights of man under the Constitution vs. the rights under God. Randy Singer once again affirms he is a leading voice on Christian Constitutional legal thrillers (see DIRECTED VERDICT and DYING DECLARATION). Harriet Klausner
This is my 2nd book by Mr. Singer and, like Directed Verdict, I simply couldn't put it down. Just outstanding characters, theme, pacing and just all around great reading - with the added bonus of food for thought, without personal bias. Excellent. Sheila S.
I'm always looking for a good law, crime, or court book to read but this one caught my eye because, well, the story took place in my hometown. I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was! I've already recommended it to all of my friends who enjoy this type of story.
The Justice Game by Randy Singer is another suspenseful courtroom spectacular from the master of the genre. When a beautiful pregnant news anchor is shot on camera by an angry viewer, her husband wants to sue the gun manufacturer for allowing their guns to be sold by a dealer who knowingly sold to felons. He hires Kelly Starling to represent him in a case that strikes fear in the hearts of NRA members across the nation. Across the aisle on the defense is Jason Noble, just two years out of law school and trying his very first major case for the gun manufacturer. But there are mysterious forces working behind the scenes manipulating both attorneys and maybe even going deeper into the case, making the case and story explosive. Singer is a master of suspense, dishing out clues little by little, keeping the reader hooked and barely breathing frantic flipping of the pages. Singer did something revolutionary with this novel: he allowed readers to determine the ending. Months ago, he placed a video on his website with the closing arguments of both attorneys and allowed readers to find for or against the gun manufacturer, vowing to allow their decision to shape the book. This is a hot topic in today's politics, but Singer presents both sides fairly, making the ending a surprise and truly satisfying. Nobody does it better than Singer.
A friend of mine introduced me to books by Randy Singer. I'm glad she did. This book is a little different than books that I would normally pick up. It makes a good change of pace for me. To some people in today’s world, the legal system is a game. Greed is the idea behind the game in Randy Singer’s story. If you like crime/law suspense novels, you will probably enjoy this one. I will definitely be picking up more of Randy Singer's books.
Another excellent book by Randy Singer The book follows a second amendment court case after an anchorwoman is gunned down on live television. The lawyer hired to help defend the gun manufacturer has his doubts about his client but a twisting turn of events involving his gun help change his mind.
Full of twists, turns and surprises. Keeps you guessing to the very end.
This is the first Randy Singer book I ever read, making me slightly biased when it comes to deciding which of his books I like best. When I began reading this book I didn't know much about the author or what to expect, but what I found was the most entertaining lawyer story I've read. Very action packed, entertaining, and just plain enjoyable. I hope everyone gets as much pleasure from this book as I did!