Retired attorney and award-winning author James Scott Bell has written many independent thrillers co-authored a handful more with Tracie Peterson. His latest novel, A Higher Justice, is the second in a series featuring female attorney Kit Shannon. The story takes place in Los Angeles in the early 1900's; filled with history and culture of the times, this engaging novel is unsurpassable in quality and content by any legal novel being published today from better-known bestselling authors.
A young widow and her son are headed into town. In an attempt to move forward following her husband's death, she has decided to purchase new clothing for her son. A terrible accident occurs when the young boy wanders into the street and is killed by a recklessly driven trolley car.
Kit Shannon decides to wage a legal battle against the trolley company in an attempt to force all trolleys to be retrofitted with safety features. In the years since the trolley came to be there have been several accidents, and each time the fault was placed on the victim. Shannon's stand: This has got to stop. She believes the trolley company should be held responsible to the community. It is no easy battle; the tycoons who own the railroad and trolley lines will stop at nothing to obtain more power and more money. Shannon's reputation is such that she poses a threat to the continued success and riches of the transit system. Those against her will stop at nothing to get her out of the way of progress.
A local man gets into a drinking contest in a local saloon, and things get out of hand. Without remembering what exactly happened, he is arrested for attempted murder, having apparently taken a gun from the bartender and fired shots at his competitor. Though no one was killed, or even injured, there is a bar full of witnesses to the crime.
When Shannon takes this case, something about it doesn't seem right; Shannon believes that her client might be innocent. Too many of the people involved are on the trolley payroll, and Shannon long ago learned to recognize that there is no such thing as coincidence. In order to battle Shannon's defense, the district attorney's office pits its female lawyer, Mrs. Price, against the infamous Kit Shannon. What ensues is a smart courtroom drama.
A Higher Justice is entertaining, fun and intriguing. James Scott Bell writes smoothly, and his dialogue sounds right for the times. The etiquette seems appropriate, as well as the way he describes the social standings between men, women, and women who are trying to succeed in a man's world. Thankfully James Scott Bell has quite a backlist of books. They should keep me busy through most of the upcoming winter.