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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
When I really enjoy a novel, as I did Gangster’s Court by Adam Van Susteren, I always like to read what the author shares about himself and his writing in the closing notes. What I sensed from Van Susteren’s comments was his humility and desire for reviewer and reader honesty. Well, that’s an easy request and one I’m happy to fulfill.
The world the author depicted here is one far removed from my own life experience i.e. the world of gangsters, narcotics, criminals and the mafia and those in law enforcement trying to outsmart them. Not easy. And when you’re a Superior Court Judge, like Jo Channing, things can get complicated when you too have something in your past it’s best few know about. But one of those who do know about Jo is Marcos Omar, the most colorful and interesting character in this story, who lives on the shadowy side of the law, but is actually a “bad” guy with a good heart. What he knows about Jo helps him get her on his side, working with him in his cleverly devised gangster’s court where, for the most part, he acts as judge and jury and closes each case satisfactorily and speedily.
By the time you reach the end of the novel, which has Omar on the run from both cops and crooks, the reader is cheering for both him and Jo. We’ve become totally immersed in Omar and Jo’s world where gangsters’ ingrained response to questions is “I don’t know.” Sure makes it hard to pin down those responsible for the latest round of dead bodies...and there’s a good few in Gangster’s Court. Next to Adam Van Susteren’s skill with creating interesting characters, his easy handling of dialogue and neatly plotted story bring this second novel in his trilogy based on Jo and Omar to a most satisfying close...an excellent appetizer for Book 3. I’m sure it will be another great read to anticipate from Adam Van Susteren.