Due to doublestacking my bookshelves when they started overflowing, some books got pushed to the back and haven't seen the light of day ever since. Steven Hague's Justice For All is one such title so when I finally pulled it out last week, I discovered it was published way back in 2008. Since then, there has been a sequel (I'm actually surprised there was only one) called Blood Law, released in 2009.
The central character in both books is Zac Hunter and he's very hard to pin down. I'd say he's more of an antihero than a hero, but it depends on your personal viewpoint really. He's a disgraced ex cop, thrown out of the force for being overly violent, and his personnel file says that he is only a hair's breadth away from being a psychopath. On the plus side, he has a deep sense of what is (in his view) morally right or wrong and he has no qualms about taking matters into his own hands when the legal system fails to deliver justice. At the start of this book, he sits in at the court case for Carlos Montero, a Salvadorian pornographer on trial for the kidnap and murder of seven children. When he ends up being acquitted, Hunter decides to go vigilante and avenge the victims by delivering his own form of justice. The problem is, someone beats him to it and Hunter wants to know who stole the vengeance killing that was rightfully his, particularly as the killer turned his gun on Hunter in the ensuing gunfight. Hunter collects a motley crew of allies and enemies along the way, along with some who seem to sit somewhere in the middle.
I must admit, I worked out most of the plot's twists and turns well in advance but there were still a few surprises in the final chapters. The unchronological narrative also leads the reader astray, as it isn't clear from the beginning that we're jumping back and forth in time.
It's a fast-paced easy read, slightly lacking in originality and realism but with a complex main protagonist who keeps things exciting. I'll be looking out for the sequel to see what else happens to Zac and I think it's a shame the series stopped there, as he has real potential for carrying off a complete series of novels.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £6.99