Justice in June is the second book in the Mary Magruder Katz mystery series by Barbara Levenson. I received the book with a request to read and review, and little did I know when I started reading it that it’s not the first book in the series. However, once I read the last page of the story I realized that I didn’t get handicapped by reading the book out of order at all.
The story is fun and it kind of reminds me of Stephanie Plum, except Mary Katz is not such a klutz and an airhead like Stephanie is in Janet Evanovich’s books.
Mary is a lawyer, and a very good one at that. She lives in Miami where being ‘white’ is in fact not necessarily the norm. She has a cute boyfriend, Carlos, who asks Mary to help one of his friends from Argentina since he got imprisoned out of the blue. Carlos doesn’t tell her any specifics, so soon she is entangled in a case of terrorism that she’d had rather stayed miles away from.
At the same time, judge Liz Maxwell comes to Mary with a problem of her own: she is being investigated by the State’s Attorney for dismissing drug cases without actual cause and wants Mary to figure out what is going on in her court, knowing that she hasn’t done anything wrong.
And just when Mary thinks she has her plate full of cases, Carlos himself gets into legal trouble related to his construction business since he couldn’t finish a project in time for the tenants to move in to their new homes.
Without spoiling the plot, the three cases are totally unrelated to each other so there is no tying it all together at the end of the book. Usually such a feature turns me off from reading, however Barbara Levenson did it in a way that I was so fully engaged in what was going on at any given time, that I never stopped to muse on the fact that there are indeed 3 story lines running parallel in the book.
Each case was engaging in its own right and had quite the suspense attached to it. What I enjoyed a lot was the way Mary could handle all the cases and still not go bonkers. I know I would have in her place. Added to it all her boyfriend problems (there is a tension there between the two, which is probably easier to figure out if you’ve read the Mary Magruder Katz books in their proper release order) make Mary a really busy person with hardly any time for herself.
I love reading legal mysteries (the Stone Barrington books by Stuart Woods have been some of my favorites of all), so going back to it was quite pleasant, considering that it’s been a while since I’ve read anything in this particular subgenre. It is a fast pace mystery that compels you to keep reading just one more page until you realize you’re at the end of the book with all 3 cases nicely solved by none other than Mary herself.
There was some court drama going on, but also lots of research and pure sleuthing by Mary – she definitely knows how to unravel a complicated thread. If she ever goes jobless, becoming a PI will be for her like going home.
Mary Magruder Katz is a very appealing character, who is not afraid to go just a tiny bit around the law to make her case, without being much afraid of the consequences, especially since she knows there is a real case that she can make. Since I’ve only read this one book in the series, I haven’t had the chance to get much character development, and I felt a bit that the rest of the players were not as fleshed out (e.g. I would have loved to know more about Carlos in this relationship) – again probably because of me not reading the first book.
Overall I really enjoyed Justice in June and I think it’s a perfect beach read for the summer holidays. I should know, that’s where I have read this book as well.
To learn more about Justice in June by Barbara Levenson or get the book, head over to Amazon