Judge Ed
by Ted Rose

"They made one more attempt at persuading me to consider some sort of leniency for their client by asking for a plea deal, which I denied."

This novel is an exercise in duality. It's one part self-reflection and one part revenge mystery. The analysis-of-self part tends to take precedence over the good guy versus bad guy part, but they both eventually intertwine in this contemporary tale set in South Florida.

Readers are given extensive information about the judge who narrates his tale. They learn of his disdain for self-promoting, celebrity-seeking jurists who perform more for television cameras and TV ratings than for actual justice. Yet, the judge becomes a bit of a star in his own right as he doles out tough sentences and builds a reputation as one who is not to be underestimated. Part of the judge's high profile reputation is achieved when he takes on the case of a noted doctor who is accused of murdering a young nurse with whom he was said to be romantically involved. The physician is convicted but later escapes from prison and sets out to wreak havoc on the jurist. Tension rises as the doctor comes for his revenge, and only a well-meaning acolyte of the judge stands in his way.

Rose spins his yarn well. The prose is easy to read, and the pace is brisk. Humor is seldom absent from one chapter to another, whether the author is describing the judge's concepts of judicial practice or the often necessary wheeling and dealing between various political factions. Side roads from the main plot pop up often, but they generally circle back once they've provided more input about the good judge. Readers who like character-driven dramas that keep things interesting with action will likely enjoy this fictional foray into occasionally out-of-the-ordinary law and order.

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