The Hanging Judge by Michael Ponsor is a December 2013 Open Road Media publication. I received a copy of this book from the publisher and Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
David gets assigned to rule over a death penalty case. He has always dreaded this moment. The case is high profile involves a drug dealer, a drive by and an innocent bystander being killed, and a cop being wounded. The media is all over the case.
On a personal note, David meets a delightful teacher when he pulls a bone head move at an ATM. David hasn't been involved with anyone since his wife's death. There is a little trouble in paradise though when it comes to his job and his principles as a judge.
The author treads lightly through the minefield of the death penalty debate. He handles the story is such a way that the reader is able to see the entire drama from every angle. The judge, the defense attorney, the prosecutor, the family of the victim, the jury, and the accused.
Nothing is ever just black and white. Pressures can come from all angles. Family and friends weighing in on how you should testify or how you should rule or handle situations. There are witnesses who may not mean to lie and those that do mean to lie. The media often tries and convicts someone before the trial even starts, leaking pertinent information that the jury could find out about and cause a mistrial or help convict an innocent person.
I was really impressed by the way the story was told. It was one of the most realistic views into a courtroom crime case I have read. There is plenty of food for thought here. It is my understanding that Micheal Ponsor was or is a Federal judge. This would explain the knowledge he has of the inner workings of a trial and the effects all of this has on those involved. Often authors try to glamour up the legal thriller genre with a lot of courtroom banter and numerous twist and turns and maybe even the Perry Mason moment. But, this novel felt like a real life case and did not need all the bells and whistles to keep the reader turning those pages.
A tense and emotional read. This is one of the best courtroom style legal thrillers I have read in a while.
Overall an A+