Gangster's Court

Jo Channing Book 2

Fiction - Thriller - Legal
296 Pages
Reviewed on 04/10/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

When I really enjoy a novel, as I did Gangster’s Court by Adam Van Susteren, I always like to read what the author shares about himself and his writing in the closing notes. What I sensed from Van Susteren’s comments was his humility and desire for reviewer and reader honesty. Well, that’s an easy request and one I’m happy to fulfill.

The world the author depicted here is one far removed from my own life experience i.e. the world of gangsters, narcotics, criminals and the mafia and those in law enforcement trying to outsmart them. Not easy. And when you’re a Superior Court Judge, like Jo Channing, things can get complicated when you too have something in your past it’s best few know about. But one of those who do know about Jo is Marcos Omar, the most colorful and interesting character in this story, who lives on the shadowy side of the law, but is actually a “bad” guy with a good heart. What he knows about Jo helps him get her on his side, working with him in his cleverly devised gangster’s court where, for the most part, he acts as judge and jury and closes each case satisfactorily and speedily.

By the time you reach the end of the novel, which has Omar on the run from both cops and crooks, the reader is cheering for both him and Jo. We’ve become totally immersed in Omar and Jo’s world where gangsters’ ingrained response to questions is “I don’t know.” Sure makes it hard to pin down those responsible for the latest round of dead bodies...and there’s a good few in Gangster’s Court. Next to Adam Van Susteren’s skill with creating interesting characters, his easy handling of dialogue and neatly plotted story bring this second novel in his trilogy based on Jo and Omar to a most satisfying excellent appetizer for Book 3. I’m sure it will be another great read to anticipate from Adam Van Susteren.

K.C. Finn

Gangster’s Court is a work of fiction in the legal thriller subgenre and was penned by author Adam Van Susteren. Part of the Jo Channing series of novels, this second volume takes us back to Jo Channing as she finds her way in her new life as a Superior Court Judge. But the criminals she has dealt with in her past are never very far from her mind, nor indeed are they far from her courtroom when a former client and co-conspirator turns up on her calendar. What results is a complex embroilment where old debts are called in and the concept of justice itself is called into question.

Author Adam Van Susteren does a great job of toeing the line when it comes to legal matters versus human interaction. I loved the development in Jo Channing’s character and her attitude towards people, whatever side of the lines of legality they fall into. There’s a realistic sense of what goes on beyond the official statements and courtroom judgments in this work, and that makes it all the more thrilling when lines blur between right and wrong. Marcos Omar was also a well-written mastermind, capable and frightening but never cartoonish. Alongside these excellent characters, the dialogue really shines for its exposition purposes and the excitement and attitude which it lends to the plot. Overall, Gangster’s Court will certainly thrill fans of the legal genre for its many satisfying twists and turns. It’s a story of intrigue that you can fall deep into, with thrills on every page.

Deborah Lloyd

When Marcos Omar stood before her in traffic arraignment court, Judge Jo Channing could not believe her eyes. Omar, a former client and a co-conspirator of hers, was charged with a broken taillight. The ticket was given by Officer Kristy Maggiore, and she had been following Omar for some time. Jo owed Omar due to a past involvement; Omar was the criminal who gave the drug overdose to Brad Gecina. Jo and her boyfriend Dzuy had no choice but to give needed support to Omar, although Jo had to walk the fine line between legality and criminality. A complicated venture unfolds in Gangster’s Court: Jo Channing Book 2, written by Adam Van Susteren.

This book has a large cast of characters, including the three main characters – Omar, Jo and Dzuy; Jo’s family; gang members; and law enforcement personnel. Omar’s character is the most fascinating as he contrives one plan after another. His idea of having a Gangster’s Court where two opposing and criminal sides can present their cases before him is truly original. How he and Jo play law enforcement and the gangs against each other is an intriguing aspect of the plot. While it may sometimes be difficult to determine which character belongs to which gang, the innovative ways they try to outfox each other is also compelling. This is a thrilling, high-action book. Author Adam Van Susteren has penned an edge-of-your-seat legal thriller in Gangster’s Court. This book is the second of the Jo Channing series, and book three is on its way!