Saturday, January 30, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: Lawful Deception


“Pamela Samuels Young has crafted a page-turner that will keep you engrossed until the very last page. If you’re a fan of smart legal thrillers with brisk pacing, crackling dialogue and edgy, intriguing characters, Lawful Deception is for you.” --Dwayne Alexander Smith, Award-winning Author of Forty Acres. 

Once again, award-winning author Pamela Samuels Young delivers another captivating legal thriller full of unexpected twists and jaw-dropping moments you never see coming. The beautiful Bliss Fenton won't be winning any awards for Mother of the Year. Truth is, motherhood isn't nearly as important to Bliss as the cottage industry she's created: extorting wealthy men for the hefty child support she can collect.

But Bliss' greed goes too far when she takes on Fletcher McClain. The handsome music industry mogul refuses to accept her conniving conduct lying down. He retains high-profile attorney Vernetta Henderson to sue Bliss for fraud.

Enter Bliss’ unscrupulous attorney, Girlie Cortez, who has a personal score to settle with Vernetta. As the two lawyers once again go head-to-head, their legal battle quickly escalates from merely contentious to downright deadly.


Gat Damn, y'all! My girl is back better than ever with this fifth installment in my favorite lawyer series, Vernetta Henderson. OMG, this book was absolutely smokin’ hot!!!! What shocked me is that I didn’t even know Pamela had written another story in the series, and I stumbled across that fact by total accident. Let me be the first to say, in case you haven’t detected it in my writing, I loved this book! Wowwwww!

Our girl, Vernetta, has matured a great deal since the last book. She’s learned what is more important, and money is not always at the top of the list. However, that doesn’t stop her grind and hustle. Fletcher McClain, the ex-boyfriend of Vernetta, shows up at her office, out of the blue, badly in need of legal help. This dude doesn’t just need legal help, he needs the brilliant mind of a cutthroat attorney who will get him what he wants. Fletcher is the CEO of Karma Entertainment, an industry music mogul. He’s respected by most of his peers and hated by his competition. The problem with Fletcher was he didn’t know how to “keep it in his pants” so to speak. You know. . .that other head most men think with! Unfortunately, for him, he dipped his member in a crazy psycho chick, and now she’s pregnant. Umm, Lord, how does that happen? All it takes is one time, Fletcher! 

Against Vernetta’s better judgment, she decides to help her ex with his women woes. Why did I say “women?” Oh. . .did I fail to mention Fletcher has a fiancĂ©e too. I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when he tells his lady he’s got his crazy ex pregnant! Once Vernetta meets with Fletcher’s ex, she soon realizes why Fletcher is having so many issues with her. This woman has made a living out of having babies for child support payments. She didn’t have a 9 to 5 like most of us, her job was lying on her back and popping out babies for the highest Baller or Roller—take your pick. Hmmph, being a “real” mother was the last thing on Miss Thang’s mind! She hooks up with the rich and famous, entraps them, and then she sits pretty on her big pile of money until her next victim happens her way. Fletcher definitely fit the bill, along with the other two babies’ daddies she has. It became perfectly clear that Bliss Fenton was not going to be easy to tame. Most everyone hated Bliss and with good reason. She treated people horribly and didn’t give a damn. She was a user and abuser and all she cared about was the almighty dollar from the wealthy persuasion.

Well, someone got sick of Bliss’s money-grubbin’ little hands and decided to end it all for her. Oh yeah, Bliss finds herself dead. Umm, what is going to happen to her children? Bliss’s best friend in the whole wide world is Jessica. Who, better than Jessica, can see to Bliss’s motherless children. Besides, she’s wealthy too and is unable to have children, so this is the perfect situation for her to fall into. It also helped that through all of Bliss’s madness, she decided to name Jessica the legal guardian over her three kids. 

Vernetta’s best friend, Special, who works at Verizon by day and is a wannabe Private Investigator at night, although, I shouldn’t say wannabe. Special definitely was named appropriately. She possesses a “special” gift for being nosey and finding out things that others cannot. She’s so close to getting her PI license, and I’m hopeful in Book Six, she will be able to run her own show, but for now, she’s doin’ the damn thing helping Vernetta out with her wealthy clients. As was the case with this Fletcher McClain situation. Vernetta hired her to do some snooping to dig up any dirt she could on Bliss Fenton due to the fact Bliss was suing Fletcher for child support to the tune of eighty-three thousand dollars a month. Good Gawd, can you believe that? What child on this earth needs that much money? Hmm? You add that up for the next eighteen years and we’re talking what, ten million or more? That is crazy as hell, and that’s exactly what Fletcher thought too, which is why he was seething that this nutty bitch even thought to ask for that much money from him. Problem was, a judge would grant it knowing how much money Fletcher makes a year. Over his dead body, he’d say. Well, as the reader presses on, you’ll soon discover, it’s not Fletcher’s dead body, but definitely the “crazy bitch” as he referred to her. 

I must say, I was hoping and praying for Bliss Fenton to die. (I know that sounds bad, but you have to read this character to understand). I kept saying, “When is this bitch going to be offed?” Hell, I was as bad as Fletcher. She angered me to no end, so I felt her exes’ pain. She put a damn number on them, but as she was quick to point out, if they weren’t so eager to “get some” from her, then they wouldn’t be in the predicament they found themselves. Hmm, Bliss does have a point!

As the story unfolds, the reader will be taking a crash course on our wonderful legal system and all it has to offer. (Bullshit, that’s what!) Some of it will appear unfair, but that’s the way our law works (usually against those who are in the right – LOL). 

Pamela Samuels Young is one of the best legal novelist I’ve ever read. Her characters are believable, fun and unforgettable.  Every one of her stories should be a movie. Her chapters are short, sweet and directly to the point. They read like a soap opera with just enough information to keep you going and sitting on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what is going to happen next. Vernetta Henderson is a strong character, as well as all the characters Pamela has added to the series. I’m telling you if you love a great legal thriller with drama, humor, and spunk, you’ve GOT to read this book! It was simply amazing and I couldn’t get enough. I read it in two days, so that should tell you something. 

Needless to say, Mello & June gives this book five stars and beyond. Outstanding read full of ummph! This is what I’m talking about! I missed Pam so much, but she amply made up for it by giving her fans this one right here! Damn, I hated this book to end! 

P.S. The nice thing about the Vernetta Henderson series is that all the books are standalones. Check out all of Pamela Samuels Young’s other books as well. I’ve read them all. She’s an amazing talent in the courtroom and out. She’s a real-life litigating attorney.

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

It ain't over until the Gavel Bangs!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

BOOK REVIEW: The Hanging Judge

When a drive-by shooting in Holyoke, Massachusetts, claims the lives of a Puerto Rican drug dealer and a nurse at a neighborhood clinic, the police arrest a black drug dealer. With no death penalty in Massachusetts, the US attorney shifts the double homicide out of state jurisdiction into federal court so that he can pursue the death penalty.

The Honorable David S. Norcross, who has been on the federal bench only two years, now presides over the first death penalty case in the state in fifty years. He must contend not only with an ambitious female prosecutor and a brilliant veteran defense attorney, but with a citizenry outraged at the senseless killing of a white hockey mom — not to mention the pressures of the media, anti-death penalty protesters, vengeful gang members, and the million other things that can go wrong in a capital trial.

Michael A. Ponsor takes readers into the courtroom and beyond, presenting with great sensitivity the points of view of the defendant and his wife; the victims’ families; law enforcement officers; witnesses; and the judge who, while still coming to terms with the death of his wife, begins a relationship with a woman he is not sure he can trust.

M & J's Review:

This was one of the most intense, fast-paced satisfying legal thrillers I've read in a long, long time!  I see why it was critically acclaimed and made the New York's Best Sellers List.  Can you imagine you're out in the morning going about your business, and just before you go inside your place of work, you see the cutest little dog tied to a telephone pole sitting patiently waiting on its owner?  As you bend down to pet the cute four-legged little pup, that would be the last thing you ever see?  Hmm, imagine that?  You're a nurse by day and a wife and mother thinking today isn't any different than any other day you've started.  What could possibly go wrong?

Factor in there's a Puerto Rican drug lord who just kissed his girlfriend and rubbed her very pregnant belly carrying their son who is about to head off to the store to pick up some things for the party they are about to have, while across the street the nurse is bending down petting a dog, someone in a gray Nissan strolls by and shots fire out in the distance.  When the smoke clears, there are two people dead where they once stood, in a crimson pool of their own blood.  How does this happen?  But a better question is to ask who did this and why?

United States District Judge David Norcross sits on the bench for the Western District of Massachusetts.  He's seen many defendants stand before him, as well as countless lawyers who depend on him to make harsh decisions and decipher the law in an unbiased manner and keep Lady Justice as honest as he can.  Two citizens of Holyoke, Massachusetts are dead and the case has landed square on Judge Norcross's desk.  While the legal system is navigating its course, the prosecutor has her sights set on a guy named Clarence "Moon" Hudson as executioner of the nurse and drug lord.  Moon is an African-American male in a dead-end job, trying to make a way for his wife, Sandra, and infant child, Grace.  Sure, he used to belong to a gang called The La Bandera, but he abandoned that life to go straight. Unfortunately, the life has a way of never letting go, so when he and his wife were suddenly ripped from their sleeping bed to find Holyoke's finest tearing their happy home apart searching for whatever they can find to arrest Moon, his wife makes a mistake through all the mayhem.  She asked her husband a question in front of police enforcement that will later be used against her.  Keep in mind, there's a reason why people are Mirandized.  Also, there's a reason why when things like this occur, it's always best to keep your mouth shut.

The U.S. Attorney has her man, Moon Hudson, for the charges of murder.  But, did Moon commit the crimes in question?  As you go through this maze of legal-eze, the reader soon finds out that things are not as they appear and what you thought you knew, you'll quickly discover you do not.  This had all the spice of a great Law & Order episode.  It starts off strong and finishes even stronger.  The characters are so believable and the law is spot on.  If you're a person who loves a great legal novel, this is the one for you.  What sets this legal novel apart from others is that the reader gets to see what the law is like from a judge's point of view.  Most always, legal thrillers usually deal with the attorney's point of view, but Michael did an exceptional job showing you what police officers deal with, as well as the judge and the attorneys.  You're pulled in their lives and go through everything they deal with.  These characters are very real and make you want to know more about their lives and very important jobs they hold.

The occupations these characters do make you realize that life isn't as simple as we bystanders and onlookers think.  It's so easy to read what the media spins for us, and of course, we all have an opinion, but Michael takes you inside what each of these individuals have to deal with.  I could not put this book down and got angry when I had to.  As soon as I got a second, I was reaching for the Kindle to finish where I left off.  This was an exceptional read!  Mello & June gives this novel five stars and beyond.  Like I said, if you think you know all there is to know, buckle up 'cause you're in for one hell of a bumpy ride.  The ending is superb!  Enjoy!

Kimberly Ranee Hicks, Author/Poet/Reviewer

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