In JUSTICE IS FOR THE LONELY, the stunning new suspense novel by author Steve Clark, Kristen Kerry, a smart, attractive, young lawyer faces the dilemma of trying her biggest legal case while attempting to fulfill the less than moral demands of her client and boss. Kristen’s malpractice case has the potential to be the largest verdict of its kind in Texas legal history. She must juggle her strong legal skills with a heavy load of insecurities stemming from a traumatic childhood. The book, which Midwest Book Review says is “exceptionally well written and engagingly entertaining from beginning to end,” features action-packed scenes; complex multidimensional characters; and compelling subplots.
Kristen Kerry made partner at Wright and McGee in six short years. During that time, she worked obsessively and spent most of her personal time alone or slamming punching bags in martial arts training. The “Layne” malpractice case is Kristen’s opportunity to prove she is a trial lawyer equal to any male. Tammy Robberson, a tough talking, morally deficient insurance adjuster handpicked Kristen to represent the defendant hospital in the lawsuit, certain that Michael Stern, senior partner representing the doctor would see the attractive young attorney as another potential conquest. To win the case, Kristen is expected to be competent, wily, and a team player, even if it means sleeping with attorneys her firm is supposedly collaborating with during the malpractice case.
After Kristen fails to charm information out of Tony Caswell, Stern’s associate representing the doctor, Tammy instructs her to focus on Stern himself. She is told to do whatever it takes to gain his trust then betray him so the doctor ultimately bears the liability rather than the codefendant hospital and nurses. Michael Stern who is an attractive, masterful attorney, is also a known philanderer. His wife Diana is a Dallas socialite from very old money. Teaming up with Stern is a risk for Kristen that shakes up her professional and personal worlds. Despite her disgust over the assignment, Kristen finds herself attracted to Stern after she sees him in his role as father of a teenage daughter, but she still knows he might double cross her.
As the case progresses, Stern’s wife, a member of the Texas Pardon and Parole Board, becomes responsible for the release of Leonard Marrs, a sexual predator, who is violent and disturbed, yet very charming. After leaving prison, he becomes obsessed with Diana. When Caswell, whom Stern removed from the Layne case, discovers secrets about Kristen’s past, he teams up with Marrs for revenge against both attorneys. And what better revenge than implicating them in murder?
Clark was inspired to write JUSTICE IS FOR THE LONELY as a means of showcasing story lines and characters from some of his own dramatic cases. He has encountered many fascinating people during his years of private legal practice. Clark states, “While there are many legal genre books, the vast majority involve the criminal system and none, to my knowledge, explore the nasty business of malpractice litigation, particularly its effect on troubled characters.”
JUSTICE IS FOR THE LONELY is much more than a novel with thrilling legal action, gripping subplots, and romance. It offers readers a story of the transformation of a shallow, self-absorbed man who finds love and an adult child of alcoholic parents who overcomes her inability to trust anyone.
“I think almost everyone, including men will identify with Kristen and her insecurities, her loneliness,” Clark says, “they will cheer on her courage, even her recklessness, and will be heartened by her integrity and hopefully eager to follow her future adventures.”
For More Information
- JUSTICE IS FOR THE LONELY is available at Amazon.
- Discuss this book at PUYB Virtual Book Club at Goodreads.
Tony Caswell somehow reached his car, bent at the waist and gasping, fearing each step would be his last. This posture helped keep the jewels from being jostled. Kristen’s blood-chilling martial arts scream echoed in his head, only matched by reverberations of his wail. He leaned against the Targa door, trying to breathe.
His normal hand fumbled inside his pants for the key. Even this small movement reinforced the agony. He wasn’t sure he should — or could — drive, but didn’t want to collapse in the street.
He caught his reflection in the window glass. His face looked purple, and it frightened him. Am I going to fucking die in front of this whore’s house?
He realized the blow to his crotch may have hit the vagus, the cranial nerve that wandered all the way to the gut. It was sensitive enough that bowels, lungs, everything could shut down.
The courtyard around Kristen’s townhouse swirled.
He had to get a grip.
After a minute, Tony opened the door and tried to sit in his Porsche without his balls touching the seat. That proved impossible. The pain shot from his groin into his belly. He feared he might throw up all over the beautiful leather, so he faced his head out the window.
His throat threatened to close. The spit he tried to swallow stayed mostly in his mouth. While his good hand held up his smashed balls, his bad one searched around his Adam’s apple. The worst pain seemed left of dead-on. He probably wouldn’t die. Probably. Some air reached his lungs, but the distress made him retch. He coughed out something disgusting, but somehow managed to start the car with his left claw.
As he did often when he had to use his left arm, he cursed his parents, in Jakarta chasing oil deals when Tony was born, leaving the delivery in the hands of an incompetent Indonesian obstetrician. Erb’s Palsy they called it, meaning the shoulder got stuck in delivery. Pulling his head out of the birth canal had ripped nerves from his spine. He hid his atrophied hand, when he could, and blamed his greedy parents, too busy to fly to Australia for a real doctor.
More retching carried a disgusting mix of booze, gastric juice, and coffee. He spat, tried not to swallow, but feared he could aspirate crap into his lungs. A pulmonary arrest outside a hospital would be fatal. Even if he didn’t quit breathing, he could get a nasty pneumonia. With his luck it would be resistant staph and he’d die of sepsis next week. At this point, almost something to look forward to.
After a few more breaths of dry Texas winter air, his brain cleared enough to weigh his options. Crawl back to Kristen’s door and beg for help? More likely she’d hammer him again just because he’d seen her tits. Or find an emergency room? Methodist Hospital wasn’t far, but they would ask questions. Lots of questions.
The truth could eventually get him charged with attempted rape. She had said “No.” And he sure didn’t want to complain about getting beat up by a girl. If that got out, he’d be a laughing stock for years.
The ER would call the police, regardless of the story he invented. Even if he claimed to have been mugged in some random parking lot, the cops might press him for details, where he’d been, who he had been with. A hospital sounded like a bad idea.
He could drive home, ice his nuts, and hope tomorrow would bring some relief. If she hadn’t called the police and they showed up at his door. Her torn bra and the scratch on her ear might be enough to get him arrested or at least questioned. Again not good for the rep.
One more alternative. His sister, a nurse at Texas Medical Center. She might have a drug stash. She lived way up the Central Tollway, north of the LBJ. It would take half an hour, but she’d be with him, if things got worse.
Jennifer was the only reason he stayed in Texas. Whenever her brother got knocked down, she was there to pick him up. His mom chased gigolos in exotic lands. Dad had returned to Britain after churning money in Houston. England had been the low point of Tony’s life. Boys at Harrow, sons of earls and MPs, had teased him without mercy about his hand and ineptitude at sports. More than one had pulled his pants down and bent him over. College in Houston was better only because he knew nobody and kept to himself.
He managed to hit the number for Jennifer on his phone. Voice mail. More crap burbled up into his throat, scaring him. He wasn’t able to choke out a message. He could drive there anyway, but if she wasn’t home it would be a waste of time.
The downstairs lights went off in Kristen’s townhouse. She was going to bed while he flirted with death. The thought of hiring some gangbangers to rape her in a parking garage floated by. Squeezing off a clip from the Beretta he kept in the glove box sounded like fun. Right through her living room window, but he would be suspect number one, since he’d flapped about his hot date to everyone in the firm. Too bad.
He tapped the gear paddle into drive, still unsure what to do, where to go. Sometime between blows he had figured out she was just using him to get info — likely been told by Pete McGee to go out with him. Polite rejection would not have been surprising. She had every incentive to string him along, but why go raving nuts over a little tit-grabbing? “Little” certainly applied to the bitch. An A cup for sure, though she had nice erect nips. She had looked like a crazy Amazon warrior, all buff and topless. The image and the sound replayed in his head caused a shiver along his spine.
He decided to head home. Call it a temporary setback. Two hundred bucks down the drain. He’d taken the bitch to the Mansion on Turtle Creek, had bragged to the guys at the firm about his anticipated conquest. And it had been quite a boast, since nobody he knew had had any luck with the standoffish, loner Kristen Kerry. Assuaging a twinge of guilt, he assured himself the lonely girl would’ve been disappointed if he hadn’t tried something.
From his firm, Tony only got trash nobody wanted to do. Kristen had already made partner at McGee’s. She tried cases on her own. She was a rising star. But Caswell figured she had sucked her way to success and was too stupid to appreciate his sophistication. Tony doubted she’d even been to Paris, let alone lived on the Left Bank. Still, if things had sparked, it would have been a coup to have Kristen next to him in the bars frequented by lawyers after work.
He loosed a half-smile. Had Tony seduced Kristen, the joke would have been on her. Although he was the senior assigned associate on the case, Tony had no idea about Stern’s plans on Layne. Stern treated him like a dog begging for scraps, blocking his partnership.
Caswell had noticed Stern eyeballing Kristen at the first Layne hearing, licking his chops. That over-dressed redneck thought getting laid as important as winning the case. If Stern nailed Kristen, Tony would be humiliated. Glancing at his deformed hand, he wished he was Stern — tall, rugged, and confident.
He coughed up coffee and stomach acid he’d already aspirated. Crap, his chest hurt. Like somebody had performed an esophagus exam with barbed wire. Maybe he should get to a hospital.
Tony pushed the car faster. He tried to concentrate on something other than his distress. Perhaps the Layne case offered the opportunity to hammer both Stern and Kristen without risk to him. A crushing loss would take the shine off their careers. Feed inside information to the plaintiff’s lawyer? Or he could even conduct his own investigation into the disastrous night Brook Layne spent at Adventist Hospital. Dr. Galway’s story made no sense, although obviously Kristen’s nurses were guilty. They had put Layne in a coma by their negligence. But he had practiced law long enough to know not to believe your own client.
He made it another mile when the burn in his balls worsened. He hadn’t thought that possible. His bladder demanded relief. Tony pulled behind a dark Safeway. Unable to get out — at least not quickly — he rotated in the driver’s seat and eased the zipper down on his slacks. His crotch screamed. He aimed just outside the door frame. The first squirt felt like a red-hot nail driven up his urethra. To his horror, piss streamed a dull red.
Shit. I could lose my testicles.
Caswell hacked another blob of gunk, zipped up, swiveled back in, slammed the car door, and tapped the shifter. Despite the torment in his crotch — or maybe because of it — he jammed the accelerator and sped for Methodist.
He’d read every Raymond Chandler and Agatha Christie story. The perfect murder long intrigued him. He often thought he would’ve made a great detective, strolling the streets of 1930 L.A. or the villages of Devon.
Every criminal makes a stupid mistake. One stupid mistake that gets him caught.
But Tony was smart.