Fast paced legal thriller and powerful urban drama from Frederic Block, the Brooklyn based federal judge who sentenced Peter Gotti of the Gambino crime family. Based partly on fact and seething racial tensions and political corruption, it doesn’t get any more “New York” than Race to Judgment!
Race to Judgment is a “reality-fiction” debut novel loosely based on a number of high-profile cases handled by its author, a federal trial court judge, over his 23 years on the federal bench in Brooklyn-such as the Crown Heights riots and the Peter Gotti trial. It tracks the rise of the fictional African-American civil rights protagonist Ken Williams (in real life, the recently deceased Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson) from his days as an Assistant United States Attorney through his meteoric rise to unseat the long-term, corrupt Brooklyn DA because of a spate of phony convictions against black defendants, including another one of the judge’s real cases (JoJo Jones in the book) for the murder of a Hasidic rabbi. Williams’ dramatic courtroom antics (with the aid of his colorful private eye) results in JoJo’s exoneration after 16 years behind bars. In addition, Williams defends a young black guidance counselor accused of killing the rabbi’s son many years ago, and champions the cause of a young Hasidic woman raped by her father. As a hobby, Williams plays jazz piano and writes country songs written by the author-which are reproduced in the book and can be heard on e-books and the Internet.
I received a copy of this book at no cost in exchange for an honest review.
This was a fast paced and exciting read! The story engages the reader from the first page to the last. The story feels all the more real and engaging because it’s written by a federal judge who lived and breathed cases and stories like this. The characters are well developed and memorable. I am a sucker for courtroom dramas and the excitement of the good and bad guys versus the justice system. I read this book late into the night and it kept me on the edge of my seat.