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The Key to Justice

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A serial killer is on the loose in Minneapolis and the head of the investigation, Minneapolis police Lt. Jake Waschke, is feeling the pressure to find him. To make matters worse, the killer strikes again, this time across the river in St. Paul, and his victim is the daughter of a prominent politician. Just when the investigation seems to be going nowhere, the police catch A serial killer is on the loose in Minneapolis and the head of the investigation, Minneapolis police Lt. Jake Waschke, is feeling the pressure to find him. To make matters worse, the killer strikes again, this time across the river in St. Paul, and his victim is the daughter of a prominent politician. Just when the investigation seems to be going nowhere, the police catch a break when the killer strikes yet again, except this time there is a witness who gets the police, including Jake Waschke chasing the killer through the streets of Minneapolis. During the chase Jake gets a good look at him and realizes his problems are only beginning when he recognizes the man and realizes he must do whatever is necessary to protect him. A patsy is found and an arrest is made. The patsy’s fate is placed in the hands of criminal defense lawyer, Marc Kadella, when the brother of the accused turns out to be a former client of Marc’s. The case has heat and publicity far beyond anything Marc has ever dealt with and he tries to beg off. He knows he is over his head with a case of this magnitude and also realizes it could destroy his practice and drive him into bankruptcy. The brother convinces Marc to take the case playing on their past relationship, guaranteeing payment of his fees and Marc’s own belief that the man is innocent. As the case progresses, Marc, aided in the investigation by a stunningly beautiful private investigator, becomes more and more convinced his client is being framed. But, unless he can uncover who is framing him and, more importantly, why, an innocent man is going to take a very serious fall, Marc will be helpless to prevent it. The Key to Justice is a work of fiction that the author undertook to give a more realistic view of the practice of law and what a lawyer goes through than is usually found in most legal thrillers. It is not an easy way to make a living but it can be very rewarding though not always easy on the soul and the lawyer’s private life. Whether the lawyer practices on his or her own, in a small firm or, maybe especially, a large firm to which you almost become enslaved, though well compensated, it can be a demanding, all-consuming, pressure-filled way to make a living.


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A serial killer is on the loose in Minneapolis and the head of the investigation, Minneapolis police Lt. Jake Waschke, is feeling the pressure to find him. To make matters worse, the killer strikes again, this time across the river in St. Paul, and his victim is the daughter of a prominent politician. Just when the investigation seems to be going nowhere, the police catch A serial killer is on the loose in Minneapolis and the head of the investigation, Minneapolis police Lt. Jake Waschke, is feeling the pressure to find him. To make matters worse, the killer strikes again, this time across the river in St. Paul, and his victim is the daughter of a prominent politician. Just when the investigation seems to be going nowhere, the police catch a break when the killer strikes yet again, except this time there is a witness who gets the police, including Jake Waschke chasing the killer through the streets of Minneapolis. During the chase Jake gets a good look at him and realizes his problems are only beginning when he recognizes the man and realizes he must do whatever is necessary to protect him. A patsy is found and an arrest is made. The patsy’s fate is placed in the hands of criminal defense lawyer, Marc Kadella, when the brother of the accused turns out to be a former client of Marc’s. The case has heat and publicity far beyond anything Marc has ever dealt with and he tries to beg off. He knows he is over his head with a case of this magnitude and also realizes it could destroy his practice and drive him into bankruptcy. The brother convinces Marc to take the case playing on their past relationship, guaranteeing payment of his fees and Marc’s own belief that the man is innocent. As the case progresses, Marc, aided in the investigation by a stunningly beautiful private investigator, becomes more and more convinced his client is being framed. But, unless he can uncover who is framing him and, more importantly, why, an innocent man is going to take a very serious fall, Marc will be helpless to prevent it. The Key to Justice is a work of fiction that the author undertook to give a more realistic view of the practice of law and what a lawyer goes through than is usually found in most legal thrillers. It is not an easy way to make a living but it can be very rewarding though not always easy on the soul and the lawyer’s private life. Whether the lawyer practices on his or her own, in a small firm or, maybe especially, a large firm to which you almost become enslaved, though well compensated, it can be a demanding, all-consuming, pressure-filled way to make a living.

30 review for The Key to Justice

  1. 4 out of 5

    S.P. Aruna

    A self published author who, to my amazement seems to have enjoyed a fair amount of commercial success, judging by the number of reviews his books have garnered. Ratings have a high average, which is a mystery to me. Anyone who has given this book more than 2 stars must be really easy to please. The writing is comparable to a mediocre high school student with a grade of C. The dialogue is oftentimes stilted and even silly. I bought the book because the author states: As a fan of the genre of court A self published author who, to my amazement seems to have enjoyed a fair amount of commercial success, judging by the number of reviews his books have garnered. Ratings have a high average, which is a mystery to me. Anyone who has given this book more than 2 stars must be really easy to please. The writing is comparable to a mediocre high school student with a grade of C. The dialogue is oftentimes stilted and even silly. I bought the book because the author states: As a fan of the genre of courtroom dramas and legal mysteries I have read all of the big name, very successful authors that write within it. Most, not all, have obviously never been in a courtroom, conducted a trial or represented a live human client. The implication here is that Mr. Carstens himself does a better job than others at depicting courtroom scenes and legal technicalities. So I had to speed read/skim through all the inept attempts at written English until, lo and behold, I reached the rather mediocre courtroom drama sans drama part of the book. I could have easily given this book only 1 star, but for the fact that it took a minimum of effort to produce 373 pages, I added a star for effort, though at times I felt it was a waste of my Kindle's battery.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    This was another case of a novel published too soon . The author had a good plot and even a fairly interesting writing style, but he was satisfied with his work long before it was finished. The work was filled with grammatical and mechanical errors - incorrect verb tenses, apostrophes strewn in odd places, and commas often AFTER instead of BEFORE conjunctions in compound sentences. These flaws made the reading hard. In addition to poor editing, there was also incomplete revision. The author star This was another case of a novel published too soon . The author had a good plot and even a fairly interesting writing style, but he was satisfied with his work long before it was finished. The work was filled with grammatical and mechanical errors - incorrect verb tenses, apostrophes strewn in odd places, and commas often AFTER instead of BEFORE conjunctions in compound sentences. These flaws made the reading hard. In addition to poor editing, there was also incomplete revision. The author started several threads of plot and seemed to forget about them so that they dangled or were just tucked into the work here and there without pattern. What a shame! With a little more attention to detail or the hiring of a good editor, this could have been a really good novel!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Huffman

    Great job Really good twist and turn story with believable characters and court room drama. I would like to think that not all things can be controlled by politicians, but I guess that they will always try. Going to read next book.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kevin

    The Key to Justice, by Dennis Carstens, is the author’s first novel and spins a yarn staring defense attorney Marc Kadella, a struggling solo practitioner in Minneapolis who is worried about paying the rent on his office and making his child support payments. Marc finds himself defending a man charged with a brutal series of murders. The story is mostly centered on Marc’s preparation for the media circus trial and his efforts to prove that his client is innocent and was, in fact, framed by the p The Key to Justice, by Dennis Carstens, is the author’s first novel and spins a yarn staring defense attorney Marc Kadella, a struggling solo practitioner in Minneapolis who is worried about paying the rent on his office and making his child support payments. Marc finds himself defending a man charged with a brutal series of murders. The story is mostly centered on Marc’s preparation for the media circus trial and his efforts to prove that his client is innocent and was, in fact, framed by the police. The story is also about police detective Jake Waschke, a twenty-year veteran of the force who is the lead investigator in the case. Before comments that may be partial spoilers, I’ll say that Mr. Carstens does a good job here developing the back stories of the characters and bringing Marc Kadella to life. The sub-plot about a tax dispute with the IRS is based on a real case, according to the author’s forward, and the color of that side case is fun to follow. The author also creates interesting supporting characters and weaves them into the narrative well. There are a handful of typos and grammar problems with the text, but in general the story is pretty well written and the narrative flows along at a good pace. There are some big problems with the plot and the details, but there was no point at which I thought about not continuing to the end of the story. This is an enjoyable read, despite the problems. I got this book as a free Kindle offer, and it was worth the time. But there are problems. First, for readers like me who are lawyers, there are several huge errors in the description of the trial and legal process. This is unfortunate since few of them are really critical to the story. As an example, the author has a key witness on the stand half way through his testimony when the court takes a recess until the next day. During that evening, the prosecutors diligently prep the witness for the next day’s resumption of testimony to try to get him to know his lines properly for the resumption of the trial. This could not happen, and would be a significant violation of ethics and court rules. Once a witness starts his testimony, the lawyers are forbidden to speak to him about his testimony or about the case until his testimony is completed. The lawyers are not allowed to tell him that he needs to slow down and face the jury, let alone drill him on his upcoming testimony while he’s still “on the stand.” This is one example, but there are several others that detract from what is otherwise a pretty well-spun legal drama. There is also a whole sub-current about political corruption that is both unnecessary and not believable. Sure, the Governor’s daughter is one of the victims of the serial killer, but the Governor’s intervention to ensure that a sympathetic judge gets assigned to the case is both unnecessary and unbelievable. The justice system does have safeguards to prevent this from happening – judges are not assigned to high-profile cases based on political convenience. It is also not necessary since the author could have written the same character for the trial judge without needed to make it seem that he was in cahoots with the prosecutor to “fix” the outcome of the trial. (This subplot would have made more sense if it had become an obstacle to Marc’s heroic efforts to get his client acquitted, despite unfavorable rulings from the judge, but that is not the case – as the story turns out, the outcome would not have been affected regardless of the judge, so what’s the point of this villainization of the judge?) More significantly, there are huge holes in the preparation of the case. The key witness for the prosecution has two critical facts that are subject to scrutiny that would have been immediately investigated and found to be impossible or lacking in credibility. And, although one of the key characters in the story is an investigator, she fails to check either of them. When one of them is revealed at the very last minute through pure chance, it’s silly to think that this lawyer would not have checked it out months before. The other is never even discussed. There are also other plot inconsistencies that render things less than believable. And the plot itself has some big problems. {semi-spoiler alert} The author reveals early on that Detective Waschke has planted evidence in order to frame Marc’s client and in order to protect someone else who is the real killer. The detective’s plan is pretty good, but he tries to go too far and manufacture more and more evidence when he doesn’t have to, and where each bit gives another chance for the chain of lies to break down. There is no reason for all the layers of evidence-planting. Then, at the very last minute, Marc discovers all of them at once. It would have been sufficient for Marc to discover that one of the key facts was false, and for him to use that to persuade the jury in his cleint’s favor, but the author gets lazy and makes all the dominoes fall very quickly and conveniently. There is even one key fact that is “revealed” at the very end even though it was never an important fact to begin with, and it’s hard to even follow what has happened. Then, at the very end, the author tries to give us a surprise twist, but it makes no sense and it’s not believable. It makes so much else of what happened in the story dependent upon pure coincidence. More than that, it’s not necessary. It’s a gratuitous action sequence and turns things upside down without any explanation or tie-up, leaving the reader at the end with a very confused feeling rather than a buttoned-up satisfied ending. The big surprise was a dud. So, in the end this was an enjoyable read, and perhaps Mr. Carstens will do better with his future books. I will be interested in peeking in on his next effort, and hoping for a tighter plot, with fewer early reveals, and a better ending.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    A nice entertaining read. I like the story and plot a lot. The details of attorneys at work, their routine, and chores are interesting and educational but the narrative made it pretty boring; considering that I like a legal thriller that's a star cut down. Overall, if you can get through the bland narrative, it's pretty worth it if you like legal investigation and courtroom ping pong game between the defense and the prosecution. A nice entertaining read. I like the story and plot a lot. The details of attorneys at work, their routine, and chores are interesting and educational but the narrative made it pretty boring; considering that I like a legal thriller that's a star cut down. Overall, if you can get through the bland narrative, it's pretty worth it if you like legal investigation and courtroom ping pong game between the defense and the prosecution.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Phyllis Williams

    Satisfaction Guaranteed I am a voracious reader and can't imagine life without a good novel! The Key to Justice was a very satisfying read - great story, likeable characters and a satisfying ending. However, let me be a little picky and add one critical thought - it could have used a good editor. There were lots of sentences with missing words. While this didn't really cause a problem since it was clearly evident what the missing word should be, it's an annoying distraction. With that said I've j Satisfaction Guaranteed I am a voracious reader and can't imagine life without a good novel! The Key to Justice was a very satisfying read - great story, likeable characters and a satisfying ending. However, let me be a little picky and add one critical thought - it could have used a good editor. There were lots of sentences with missing words. While this didn't really cause a problem since it was clearly evident what the missing word should be, it's an annoying distraction. With that said I've just purchased the second book in the Marc Kadella series and am looking forward to another great read.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    excellent start to a new series! with this new series, this author needs to be placed along side, John Grisham, Scott Pratt, Victor Mathis, and other authors in the crime procedural genre. The writing is excellent, the characters are believable, and the storyline will keep you hooked. It is filled with a lot of suspense, and thrills!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Una Tiers

    This book relays so much corruption, it depressed me. The tax sub plot was pompous.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jenene

    Excellent first novel! All of the characters were believable. Did not get bogged down in too many details and was easy to follow. Lots of twists and turns with a jaw dropping ending!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Barbara Luce

    OOO Boy I so loved this book Marc is a cool Littagater.. I would recommend this book Highly. a real page turner to find out and it took a while... to see who was the killer.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Robb

    According to the copy I read, one of the author's goals was to write true-to-life lawyer and courtroom scenes. While I agree that famous lawyers are rare and that those who can eke out a life without scrambling are probably few and far between (especially outside of big firms partners), I can't speak to the accuracy of his lawyerly and courtroom scenes. I didn't suspect the twist at the end. Warning: Spoilers Ahead: **** I did enjoy the secondary plot of Marc's battle with the IRS on his (ex?)wife' According to the copy I read, one of the author's goals was to write true-to-life lawyer and courtroom scenes. While I agree that famous lawyers are rare and that those who can eke out a life without scrambling are probably few and far between (especially outside of big firms partners), I can't speak to the accuracy of his lawyerly and courtroom scenes. I didn't suspect the twist at the end. Warning: Spoilers Ahead: **** I did enjoy the secondary plot of Marc's battle with the IRS on his (ex?)wife's behalf (I can't remember if they're already divorced or are in the process of divorcing.) which the author claims is based on a true case. I've long though many of the things government agencies do don't make sense. I did end up scratching my head a lot at the antics of the IRS and other government agencies who needed to sign off on this to get it resolved. And who doesn't dream of being able to successfully sue the IRS to recoup some of what's been paid? It's scary how easily they could claim Karen was at fault in the failure to pay taxes, and scary how those supposed to be helping her claimed things that were incorrect. I enjoyed Marc's being a mostly honest lawyer. I appreciated the authors attempts to explain why certain parts of trials are conducted as they are. I never figured out if Jake actually saw his brother (after the accident) or if that was a figment of his imagination or a result of the accident. That seems to be what drove him to try to frame Carl for the murders--and ironically, his attempts to frame Carl are what let Carl go free, when in fact Carl is who they were looking for. (And how silly that he could have gotten away but ended up getting caught because he came back in the same geographic location almost right away.)

  12. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    This book was immensely entertaining. The author's writing mechanics were very good. The few errors I saw appeared to be computer generated, and I think the author should do a read through to correct those errors. I liked the storyline about a serial killer, crooked politicians, good cops and bad cops, and good lawyers and bad lawyers. I knew there would be a twist at the end, but I thought it would be the lady judge who acted peculiarly toward the main character named Marc, the smalltime lawyer This book was immensely entertaining. The author's writing mechanics were very good. The few errors I saw appeared to be computer generated, and I think the author should do a read through to correct those errors. I liked the storyline about a serial killer, crooked politicians, good cops and bad cops, and good lawyers and bad lawyers. I knew there would be a twist at the end, but I thought it would be the lady judge who acted peculiarly toward the main character named Marc, the smalltime lawyer who won a big time case but did not get paid enough for his work. I think the author should expose the lady judge in a sequel book. In a small firm or a solo practice, the lawyer's job is 24-7, and there is no room for a quality family life. So my free legal advice to Marc is to restrain himself from marrying again, especially to that lady judge. I tell you there is something not quite right about her. Thank you, Mr. Carstens, for a good read.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Angela

    3 Stars The Key to Justice is the first book in the Marc Kadella Legal Mysteries series by Dennis Carstens. Here we are introduced to Attorney Marc Kadella, who has had a tough time of late. His practice is struggling and his personal life is a mess. So, when he is handed a high-profile case to defend an accused serial killer, Marc’s life is about to get a whole lot more interesting. And so the story begins. The plot was quite clever and well thought out- but the delivery was a little lacking. E 3 Stars The Key to Justice is the first book in the Marc Kadella Legal Mysteries series by Dennis Carstens. Here we are introduced to Attorney Marc Kadella, who has had a tough time of late. His practice is struggling and his personal life is a mess. So, when he is handed a high-profile case to defend an accused serial killer, Marc’s life is about to get a whole lot more interesting. And so the story begins. The plot was quite clever and well thought out- but the delivery was a little lacking. Editing issues really detracted from my reading experience, which is a real pity- because this book/series really does have the potential to be brilliant. But, the story did keep me intrigued enough to want to know what happens. I will read the next book in the hope that the editing issues will be resolved in future instalments.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Tony Parsons

    Twin Cities. Her classmates offered to walk Michelle Marie Dahlstrom (24, Ted’s daughter) home Charlie (most wanted killer) had been scoping her out for a while. She wouldn’t be going back to school. Detective Gary Linaman (St. Paul PD Homicide) called Lieutenant Jacob “Jake” Waschke to the crime scene. Lakewood Cemetery. The funeral/burial were held. Dr. Helen Paltrow (Professor, PhD, UCLA forensic psychiatrist) & an expert on serial killers was brought in. Marvin Henderson (72, Honeywell, retired Twin Cities. Her classmates offered to walk Michelle Marie Dahlstrom (24, Ted’s daughter) home Charlie (most wanted killer) had been scoping her out for a while. She wouldn’t be going back to school. Detective Gary Linaman (St. Paul PD Homicide) called Lieutenant Jacob “Jake” Waschke to the crime scene. Lakewood Cemetery. The funeral/burial were held. Dr. Helen Paltrow (Professor, PhD, UCLA forensic psychiatrist) & an expert on serial killers was brought in. Marvin Henderson (72, Honeywell, retired) was out walking Keesha (dog) & came across a body. Sergeant Doug Foley driving by called it in. Dr. Canby was looking over Lieutenant Waschke. In a high-speed chase he had wrecked a patrol car. Will the crime thriller be solved? I did not receive any type of compensation for reading & reviewing this book. While I receive free books from publishers & authors, I am under no obligation to write a positive review. Only an honest one. A very awesome book cover, great font & writing style. A very well written crime thriller book. It was very easy for me to read/follow from start/finish & never a dull moment. There were no grammar/typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences. Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists/turns & a huge set of unique characters to keep track of. This could also make another great crime thriller movie, or better yet a mini TV series. It was just OK for me so I will only rate it at 4/5 stars. Thank you for the free author; Amazon Digital Services LLC.; book Tony Parsons MSW (Washburn)

  15. 4 out of 5

    Vickie Sarmina

    Attorney Marc Kadella was really having difficult time in trying to make his private law practice successful. It went against his better judgment to take in Carl Fornich. Marc felt as if Carl was telling him the true that and that he was being set up. Carl was arrested for brutal rape and murder charges of the Governors daughter as well as several other women. Since he has taken on this case, clients are canceling with Marc like dominoes. Each murder had a specific calling card. A knife was shov Attorney Marc Kadella was really having difficult time in trying to make his private law practice successful. It went against his better judgment to take in Carl Fornich. Marc felt as if Carl was telling him the true that and that he was being set up. Carl was arrested for brutal rape and murder charges of the Governors daughter as well as several other women. Since he has taken on this case, clients are canceling with Marc like dominoes. Each murder had a specific calling card. A knife was shoved up through the chin and into the brain of each victim. What is the motive for this serial killer? What is triggering the person to murder these women? LT. Jake Waschke was in charge of the case. Why were certain aspects of the evidence of the case all of a sudden coming to light, as the trial was gearing up? What does LT. Waschke have to hide? Where are all of these witnesses coming from? Kadella must fight against a corrupt police force, corrupt Judge, and corrupt U.S. Attorneys office. Will he be able to protect his client? Will he find out if his client is actually being set up? Who is responsible for these murders? The plot was very well thought out. The character development was very good as well. The reader could certainly relate to each of the characters. The scenes involving the judicial procedures in the courtroom were very enlightening as well as the police procedures and forensics. I enjoyed this book very much. Looking forward to reading the next book.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn Grabas

    Loving legal mysteries, I looked forward to reading the Marc Kadella Legal Mystery series. This was the second book in the series that I have read. Unfortunately, although Mr. Carstens writes a good story, with all the correct legalese, it appears that Marc is fated to defend and exonerate clients that in the end turn out to be guilty, at least in these two books. It is also quite coincidental (?) that the man Lt. Warschke randomly picks out from the Police felon book to frame for the murders and Loving legal mysteries, I looked forward to reading the Marc Kadella Legal Mystery series. This was the second book in the series that I have read. Unfortunately, although Mr. Carstens writes a good story, with all the correct legalese, it appears that Marc is fated to defend and exonerate clients that in the end turn out to be guilty, at least in these two books. It is also quite coincidental (?) that the man Lt. Warschke randomly picks out from the Police felon book to frame for the murders and who Marc exonerates, turns out to be guilty. That is pushing coincidence too far. Additionally, why would the murderer wash, repeatedly, in very strong industrial detergent, the clothes he purportedly wore during the murders and then store them in a locker? Destroy them, yes, but store them away for posterity - why? Logic doesn't support this scenario. I could go on, but I don't feel so inclined . All I can say is that between this book and the other book in this series that I read (Personal Justice) wherein he got his client off, when she was guilty (and when he found out, condoned her actions in his own mind), leaves me leery about the remaining books in this series.. So, I must say, with much regret, as I really like a good legal thriller, that I will have to pass on this series.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Margaret Stevens

    This book stood out to me. First, it is a long book for the first book of a series. Second, the book is extremely detailed. The author stated in his note at the beginning of the book that he was trying to portray the life of a lawyer accurately instead of how most people believe a lawyer lives. The sheer tedium comes through very well. The excitement of a job well done and successful is also obvious. The twists and turns at the end were stunning. This is a character driven book and the character This book stood out to me. First, it is a long book for the first book of a series. Second, the book is extremely detailed. The author stated in his note at the beginning of the book that he was trying to portray the life of a lawyer accurately instead of how most people believe a lawyer lives. The sheer tedium comes through very well. The excitement of a job well done and successful is also obvious. The twists and turns at the end were stunning. This is a character driven book and the characters are drawn with an eye, not necessarily to appearance, but to thought processes and feelings. The reader begins to understand and sympathize with Marc, the main character. He is not really a criminal lawyer, but he manages to take on the defense in a capital criminal case. He is very appealing as written. All the other characters are just as well written, although not as extensively. I would recommend this book highly.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Allison

    Well I finished this book even though I kept telling myself to put it down and let it go. I wanted to see if the antagonist was in fact the one character. I read the forward so I knew that the author was trying to portray the life of a real, everyday lawyer but feel that he could have fictionalized the story a little more, considering it is in fact a work of fiction. Many sections were dry and slow to read. I don’t think that he wrapped it up as smoothly as he could have in the end. He left open Well I finished this book even though I kept telling myself to put it down and let it go. I wanted to see if the antagonist was in fact the one character. I read the forward so I knew that the author was trying to portray the life of a real, everyday lawyer but feel that he could have fictionalized the story a little more, considering it is in fact a work of fiction. Many sections were dry and slow to read. I don’t think that he wrapped it up as smoothly as he could have in the end. He left open questions of one of the murders which is why I don’t think he closed it out as well as he could have. And he wrote in characters who you never heard from again that left the reader wondering why he brought them into the story in the first place. Overall his real life depiction was created well and gave an accurate portrayal of the life of a lawyer. In the end he set out to do that and succeeded.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Peled

    I was lucky to get one of those news letters that publish a daily list of free books from Amazon. Being a big fan of the legal genre I noticed that book with un-familiar author ( to me). Decided to give it a try, and what a surprise it was. It was a pure Grisham type of writing. The story is full with twists and surprises. I liked the main lawyer’s character and the others as well. The only thing that I would have done without was the last 2 chapters. I think that the extra twist at the end was I was lucky to get one of those news letters that publish a daily list of free books from Amazon. Being a big fan of the legal genre I noticed that book with un-familiar author ( to me). Decided to give it a try, and what a surprise it was. It was a pure Grisham type of writing. The story is full with twists and surprises. I liked the main lawyer’s character and the others as well. The only thing that I would have done without was the last 2 chapters. I think that the extra twist at the end was superfluous. No doubt that Dennis Carstens is now on my most favourite list with John Grisham, Brian Haig and Mark Gimenez in the legal genre. And keep an eye on those newsletters with free books; you may stumble on some real treasures. (Robin Reads Team, Daily Free Books, Digital Book Today, BookBub, to name a few)

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kate Francis

    This was an exciting and fast paced novel that gives a realistic view of the legal and government systems along with an interesting plot and characters. To be honest, I almost stopped reading after the first couple of chapters, as it wasn't clear how the characters related to each other. It all came together and I'm glad I finished it. Like some of the others reviews have mentioned, there are grammar and spelling mistakes, missing words, and misused words (my personal pet peeve) that are distrac This was an exciting and fast paced novel that gives a realistic view of the legal and government systems along with an interesting plot and characters. To be honest, I almost stopped reading after the first couple of chapters, as it wasn't clear how the characters related to each other. It all came together and I'm glad I finished it. Like some of the others reviews have mentioned, there are grammar and spelling mistakes, missing words, and misused words (my personal pet peeve) that are distracting. There are also some seemingly important details that are dropped but never picked up (did the Governor's daughter know her killer?? If so, it changes the effectiveness of the plot.) Here's hoping the author gets a good editor, because I'm looking forward to reading the other books in the series.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Anthony Yvonnica

    This was a superb story. I loved the book. Masquerading as a Whodunit, this book asked serious philosophical questions. It iss the story of a man described as and with a history of being a really good, experienced, honest policeman and challenges him with a serious moral problem. Unwittingly his experience and qualifications guide him into making a decision which is both wrong and absolutely correct. Fear guided him. His moral guided him. But his expertise and intelligence clicked. It is the stor This was a superb story. I loved the book. Masquerading as a Whodunit, this book asked serious philosophical questions. It iss the story of a man described as and with a history of being a really good, experienced, honest policeman and challenges him with a serious moral problem. Unwittingly his experience and qualifications guide him into making a decision which is both wrong and absolutely correct. Fear guided him. His moral guided him. But his expertise and intelligence clicked. It is the story of a lawyer deciding his client is as innocent as the driven snow and provides him with excellent representation. But in the end does he pay a huge price for this? It is the story of a man unjustly accused, wronged, railroaded but does he have a secret? I loved this story. It was very deep.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Heidi

    Fast paced legal thriller The book was a fast read with a lot going on at one time. It was well thought out with a very interesting storyline. The only truly disappointment was the ending. I've read enough legal thrillers to be able to predict the final outcome, which I was able to do with this book. The book was entertaining and kept my mind engaged with the events that were occurring, as well as, the characters. I would like to have seen more character depth. Many of the characters had no sense Fast paced legal thriller The book was a fast read with a lot going on at one time. It was well thought out with a very interesting storyline. The only truly disappointment was the ending. I've read enough legal thrillers to be able to predict the final outcome, which I was able to do with this book. The book was entertaining and kept my mind engaged with the events that were occurring, as well as, the characters. I would like to have seen more character depth. Many of the characters had no sense of background to them. So, I would definitely recommend that the author work on more character development in his next book. Overall, it was a quick read that kept me engaged, and I will definitely read more books by this author.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Gary Mason

    The Key to Justice is a refreshing approach to lawyer/crime books. The lawyer, Marc Kadella, is not a nice, friendly guy who will agree with people just to avoid any unpleasantness. And of course he is highly competent as a lawyer, and as a detective to some degree. The Key to Justice is a complex story with a varied cast of characters, and some are real "characters". The story is told well, but the story itself is not simple. To say that it is as twisted as a pretzel is an understatement. Good l The Key to Justice is a refreshing approach to lawyer/crime books. The lawyer, Marc Kadella, is not a nice, friendly guy who will agree with people just to avoid any unpleasantness. And of course he is highly competent as a lawyer, and as a detective to some degree. The Key to Justice is a complex story with a varied cast of characters, and some are real "characters". The story is told well, but the story itself is not simple. To say that it is as twisted as a pretzel is an understatement. Good luck at picking up all the clues. I was definitely surprised at the ending and I am looking forward to reading more Carstens' mysteries.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Nikki Cooper

    An enjoyable read but too many loose threads. The book starts with setting the scene for the serial killings and the lead in to how the suspect was caught. There’s a good twist early on in the story and the reader is aware of all that is going on from both sides so there’s a desire to read to how the trial will come to (hopefully) a satisfactory conclusion. However, the last 5% of the book throws in another twist which doesn’t tie in properly with the rest of the story and leaves too many contra An enjoyable read but too many loose threads. The book starts with setting the scene for the serial killings and the lead in to how the suspect was caught. There’s a good twist early on in the story and the reader is aware of all that is going on from both sides so there’s a desire to read to how the trial will come to (hopefully) a satisfactory conclusion. However, the last 5% of the book throws in another twist which doesn’t tie in properly with the rest of the story and leaves too many contradictions and questions to make it believable. Such a shame as up until then it was a good read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ken Bour

    "The Key to Justice" is Dennis Carstens' first novel in this series. I did not count the pages, but it seemed kinda long until I reached the final 10%. The characters/dialogue are believable, it is well-written, engaging, and contains a fair amount of courtroom drama, which I enjoy. My only criticism is that, in the final chapters, a significant amount of action occurs, including a crucial plot twist, and it felt as though those scenes had been hastily crammed into a narrow space while the first "The Key to Justice" is Dennis Carstens' first novel in this series. I did not count the pages, but it seemed kinda long until I reached the final 10%. The characters/dialogue are believable, it is well-written, engaging, and contains a fair amount of courtroom drama, which I enjoy. My only criticism is that, in the final chapters, a significant amount of action occurs, including a crucial plot twist, and it felt as though those scenes had been hastily crammed into a narrow space while the first 90% of the book seemed airy by comparison. Notwithstanding that minor observation, I definitely plan to continue reading this legal series after a short respite.

  26. 4 out of 5

    laura

    Push Through...It's Worth It! I will admit, I struggled at the beginning of the book to become engaged in the story. I'm not sure if it had to do with the pacing or the plot of just me so I put it down. I read a different book and tried again. I am glad I did. Upon returning to it I was ab!e to engage more with the storyline and became invested in the book. I really enjoyed it and felt like I could identify with the main character, Marc, He seemed like someone that I could easily become a friend Push Through...It's Worth It! I will admit, I struggled at the beginning of the book to become engaged in the story. I'm not sure if it had to do with the pacing or the plot of just me so I put it down. I read a different book and tried again. I am glad I did. Upon returning to it I was ab!e to engage more with the storyline and became invested in the book. I really enjoyed it and felt like I could identify with the main character, Marc, He seemed like someone that I could easily become a friend with. By the time I finished the book, I knew that I would certainly be looking for more books written by this author.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jeff Cochrane

    I gave up on the book. Didn’t like the main character. He seemed only to be interested in money. Didn’t care if his client was innocent or guilty, he just wanted to be paid. You know that the client is not guilty because you see the cop framing him to protect the cop’s brother. You know Kadella is going to win because of A) the crooked cop, B) it’s the first book in the series. That equals no suspense. The minor subplot of the IRS was mildly interesting only because I had a problem with the IRS I gave up on the book. Didn’t like the main character. He seemed only to be interested in money. Didn’t care if his client was innocent or guilty, he just wanted to be paid. You know that the client is not guilty because you see the cop framing him to protect the cop’s brother. You know Kadella is going to win because of A) the crooked cop, B) it’s the first book in the series. That equals no suspense. The minor subplot of the IRS was mildly interesting only because I had a problem with the IRS and was good to see they treated everyone the same. Mine was a stolen identity and it took three years to finally resolve.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joyce

    4.5 stars raised to 5! Women were being murdered brutally. Marc is hired to defend the alleged perpetrator, an unlikable ex convict with a history of abusing women. He uses Maddy as his PI. she is tough and aggressive and also solution oriented. It is well written and the characters are well developed and interesting. I actually appreciated reading a legal thriller with some great courtroom scenes in which the defense attorney was not fabulously wealthy and actually had to worry about finances f 4.5 stars raised to 5! Women were being murdered brutally. Marc is hired to defend the alleged perpetrator, an unlikable ex convict with a history of abusing women. He uses Maddy as his PI. she is tough and aggressive and also solution oriented. It is well written and the characters are well developed and interesting. I actually appreciated reading a legal thriller with some great courtroom scenes in which the defense attorney was not fabulously wealthy and actually had to worry about finances for a change! Thanks to the author and publisher for an e-Galley for an honest review.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Teri Caiazzo

    From the first chapter, to the last, I was caught up in this novel. Gruesome serial killer, one misguided police officer, who ruins his career for absolutely no reason. The governor's daughter is among the victims, the governor calling for justice. All combined to make this a gripping thriller that had me cheering for the defense. I love the surprising, twisted ending in this novel. This book was a bit scary too, because it was so written that any reader could feel how it could possibly be a rea From the first chapter, to the last, I was caught up in this novel. Gruesome serial killer, one misguided police officer, who ruins his career for absolutely no reason. The governor's daughter is among the victims, the governor calling for justice. All combined to make this a gripping thriller that had me cheering for the defense. I love the surprising, twisted ending in this novel. This book was a bit scary too, because it was so written that any reader could feel how it could possibly be a real. Bravo, Mr. Carstens on your first novel, and I wish to read many more.

  30. 4 out of 5

    mohan raj cpm

    Truly worthy read. The author brings in many characters, several sub plots and keeps the story moving at a fast pace. He brings out the shady political intrigues and manipulation of justice that is common in all democracies. In short, a good story and told well. A few things fail to click, but being his first novel, can expect the author to work out the glitches and attain his true potential in his following novels!

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