“Judgment” by Joseph Finder poses the question “How much will a mother, wife, judge, do to protect her family?” It is a story rich in complexity and moral challenges. Judge Juliana Brody is Chicago on a business trip when she meets Matías Sanchez. It was just one night, but a night that will change everything about her life forever.
Juliana’s husband, Duncan, is a professor at New England Law. There were a few problems in their marriage, if she were being honest, that were bigger than that one incident, three years previously. Daughter Ashley, eighteen, is working in Africa during a “break year” between high school and college. Jake, sixteen, is in remission from childhood leukemia, but like a shark’s fin in the water, the possibility of a relapse always lurks around. He is in academic trouble at school and is using marijuana via a vape pen. Very soon, none of these problems will matter.
Judge Brody is handling several cases, but one, “Rachel Meyers v. Wheelz,” is complex, troubling, and taking too long. A young woman is suing a hot new ride‑hailing start‑up for sex discrimination. In the midst of the proceedings, a new member of the defense team is introduced, Matías Sanchez. She slowly understands that she has been used, seduced, set up. Then, someone is dead.
The plot revealed as Juliana Brody sees the world. Readers learn about her, her family, and her work. Little details make the characters come alive, what they wear, what they eat, and what they like to do. Finder creates tension that permeates even everyday activities; fear and danger hang on every page, over every mundane event, in every conversation, and around every corner. Readers connect with Brody, become part of the process, make discoveries, weigh choices, and fear the outcome. The body count rises as layer after layer of deception is peeled away to find the rotten evil core. Readers keep turning pages searching for clues, and looking for options and solutions. Then, there is a plan.
Finder has created a complicated web of double cross, espionage, financial impropriety, and international conspiracy at the highest levels. “Judgement” is a compelling story of corporate misdeeds, corruption, and just plain dirty work of the utmost nastiness. Readers should plan time wisely because once one starts reading, it is impossible to put down. I received a review copy of “Judgement” from Joseph Finder, Dutton, and Penguin Publishing Group.