Ultimate Justice by M A Comley is a mystery novel that presented a mystery to me that was one not intended by the author. This title is listed as Book 6 in the Justice Series. The mystery for me was how a series could survive with five previous titles of writing such as this. As bad as this novel was, I was determined to read through to the end to find out if there was something magical that would make me want to read anything else written by this author. There are twenty-five chapters and I got to chapter sixteen before I took a break and went to Amazon to see if I could determine how such writing could survive and sell in the marketplace. I did not want to read any reviews before writing mine, but I wanted to get a feel for the number of stars this and other novels in the series had collected.
I found I had purchased the novel for USD 0.00 even though the first price appearing on its webpage is USD 3,99 for the 175-page novel. I breathed my first sigh of relief. The novel had 70 reviews and 64% of them were five stars. What? I immediately went to the Amazon author page and was shocked. Statistics led me to believe this is a successful author. With writing improbable stuff like this, I feel it is even possible I might write a successful story someday.
This novel has all the fingerprints of good technical writing. Formatting and grammar were first class. All the elements of good writing are present. Conflicts are interesting. Characters were written to elicit sympathy, some to the point of cloying sweetness. The author appealed to animal lovers, people in unfortunate marriages, parents who had faced the trauma of abused children, working mothers whose careers consumed them, human trafficking, men who had finally learned to cook, aging parents, political incorrectness, domestic abuse, greed in general, corruption in high and government places, and the underemployment of a former MI6 husband married to a stay-at-home former Detective Inspector trying to start a Private Investigation agency. There are lots of extraordinary situations that invade the ordinary lives of super wife Lorne and husband Tony and the author wanted to make sure the pair missed nothing. The only thing left out was transition elements that would tie everything together in some sort of meaningful way.
For me, the problems started with Chapter Two. Lorne operates an animal rescue center; she seems to primarily rescue dogs. She then finds homes for them. In chapter two, Lorne drives to the home of Natasha Walsh to make a home visit. Lorne had previously placed a dog, one an elderly couple could no longer keep, with Natasha. Although she had made a previous home visit to assess home suitability, this was a follow up to assure the home was suitable. As an aside, an Asian woman serving as a maid seems to have been struck in the face (possible domestic abuse) but it also could be depression because a ship had been lost at sea the previous day and perhaps her sister had been on it (possible human trafficking). But at least the dog was in a well-established home. Does any other reader note the “White Whine” situation here? From this point on, I was sensitive to meaningless rich person concern issues.
For a different annoying issue, we can look at pg. 28. “How does spag bol sound?” asks husband Tony. Good grief, does Tony become overly tired at completing entire words? Are sentences then a challenge? A few sentences later, “He wouldn’t dream of doing such a daft (cooking) thing nowadays, after her superb guidance in the kitchen.” (pg. 29). Good husband. Good puppy.
We have a minor reprieve until Chapter five. Lorne’s sister Jade has reported that she has a friend who has an Asian maid who is also sad because she had a sister who may have been on the boat that went down in the storm (possible human trafficking). Would Lorne investigate it? Of course, because aside from an animal rescue center Lorne has started a detective agency. She herself had been a Detective Inspector and her husband was a former intelligence officer. Considering her background, she goes on to ask, “How friendly are you with MI6/5 at the moment?” (pg. 38). Yes, moppet, the two agencies are the same. They just have two different numbers to confuse the public.
By Chapter Ten, Lorne and former partner Katy have joined forces to begin an impromptu investigation into a tip provided by an informant that there might be more to the story of the sunken ship (human trafficking). Katy is temporarily staying with Lorne while she, Katy, has been suspended from her police job. That gives her time to assist Lorne and unofficially access police data support. What luck. What serendipity. The two will visit the home of the informant and find that he has been visited by sinister forces, been beaten, and had his fingers cut off. It was lucky the two friends found him in time to save his life.
Lorne and Katy are in search of Lorne’s daughter, Charlie. They found that Charlie has disappeared with a boyfriend. The two were found in a wrecked car off the main road. The boyfriend was dead; Charlie was taken to a hospital. As Katy and Lorne leave the hospital intending to come back later and talk to Charlie when sedation wore off, they notice a truck following. It is getting closer all the time and Lorne suspects it might be the same one that had run Lorne and Tony off the road a few days before. Good suspicion. As the four-by-four hit and continued ramming them Katy noted to Lorne, “I’m worried about your dad’s car, Lorne.” Once Lorne gave permission to avoid further ramming, Katy reassured Lorne with, “I forgot to tell you that I took an advanced driving course a couple of months back.” (pg. 92). Perhaps Katy carried transcripts in her overnight bag. Calls are made for assistance while the ramming continues. The car goes off the road into a ditch with lots of water, those in the four-by-four flee, and help arrives. There is much merriment as both rescuers and rescued take turns falling into the ditch water. The police help which has arrived notes that Katy is on suspension and should not be working any case. This allows Lorne to insist on women’s’ rights and threaten the police agency with legal action if equality is not forthcoming. Enjoying life in the face of death, what fun! We are now at 52% of the novel and I want very much to abandon it but a perverted sense of fondness for self-punishment spurs me on.
Chapter Fifteen produces a tipping point for me. Lorne, Katy, and Tony decide, based on an informant tip, to do covert surveillance on a point where there will be a transfer of girls to be sold. After all, Tony is a former covert operative and he will have no problem in mentoring his skills during a hostile operation. The two get to a warehouse and see the operation in progress. As for Lorne, she “saw the three men move to the rear of the lorry, laughing and sharing dirty jokes.” (pg. 110). Lorne could see the men moving and laughing. She knew the jokes they were sharing were dirty jokes. Lorne was close indeed.
We are now at 62% of the novel. Finally, Lorne saw the “men punched each other in the arm before they entered the warehouse. The gesture sickened her; it wasn’t difficult to understand what their deviant intentions were.” (page 110-111). Lorne is a former Detective Inspector. She has seen many things. But now, it is the gesture of two men punching each other in the arm that sickens her. Really, it is her imagination that sickens her. At this point, the book has sickened me and for the first time ever, I will abandon a book at the 63% point.
I give this novel one Amazon star for formatting and good grammar.