The Key to Justice My review

The Key to Justice

Dennis L. Carstens

Judges, lawyers and the police are sworn to protect the public from criminals that commit serious crimes, prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law and follow the guidelines and the rules set up by our judicial system. How far would someone go however, to protect a close friend, family member or co-worker guilty of a capital crime? How far would someone go to tamper with evidence and would that same person create a perfect and systematic trail leading to the arrest of the wrong person?


There’s serial killer lose in Minneapolis and no one seems to be able to stop him. Targeting women who have dark hair, the same height and approximately the same weight this man indiscriminately kills at different intervals yet always on the same day. Young girls and women within a certain age bracket need to be careful at night or even in broad daylight to avoid being kidnapped, tortured, raped and killed by this sick man. Jake Waschke is the police lieutenant in charge of catching this killer and the Mayor, the chief of police and the higher ups want answers. The killer is devious, smart and definitely will stop at nothing to kill his prey. Spreading his wings and taking his murders across the river in St. Paul the next victim is the mayor’s daughter. Just who is behind these killings remains to be determined as an unlikely source steps forward when the killer strikes and gets his 6th victim claiming he saw it all go down. Jake Waschke is the man chasing the killer, finding himself in the hospital after a close encounter with him and then realizing he knows his identity. But, just what will he do to protect this person and why might cost him everything. Someone is set up and arrested. The man’s fate is placed in the hands of the courts, a criminal defense attorney named Marc Kadella and things begin to heat up from there. The murder suspect turns out to be the brother of a former client of Marc’s. The murder case is volatile, tons of cops trying to find evidence to link this man to the murder and make the conviction stick, yet Marc is not sure that he wants to defend this man or even try the case. Sometimes lawyers as well as anyone else realize that some things are beyond the capabilities. This case could destroy more than his reputation, but his practice and lead him on the road to bankruptcy if he’s not paid. Told by the suspect’s brother not to worry about payment fees, Marc begins to think his client is innocent. Added in the author brings to light a very interesting case the he actually handled dealing with the government, the IRS and Marc’s ex-wife.


While learning more about the case and assisted by a private investigator, Marc begins to realize that someone is out to frame and set up his client to take the fall. But, just what can he do to find out and why would someone want an innocent man convicted? Someone has more to lose than the suspect and someone has more to gain if this man is sentenced. With the help of the Mayor the right judge is awarded the case, the preliminaries in place and the stage set for an interesting battle. As we learn more about the inner workings of the law, the importance lawyers place on getting paid, the many expenses clients incur when they want a proper and thorough defense  you wonder what would happen if someone could not afford these fees. Marc is smart and astute and yet when he tries to hire a good friend to investigate he begs off and warns him that someone involved with this case might not be what he or she seems. Hoping to plant more evidence to frame this suspect we learn just how far and to what lengths this person will go to protect someone close at all costs.


This case is costing Marc more than he expected as clients are withdrawing their need for his services, his colleagues experiencing the same and the case against the IRS that was supposed to be a finalized seems to have developed some snags. When certain documents were supposed to be signed off on the government seems to have stalled. The Solicitor General never signed off giving the government more time to appeal the award he received for his legal fees. Added in the lien on his house has not been lifted and his ex-wife although having her signature on the bankcard was being held responsible for the taxes her bosses never paid. When you read pages 45-46 you will learn more about this case which is one the author handled himself.


The author allows the reader to hear the voices of the cops in charge using their everyday vernacular when speaking with each other. Added in we learn the involvement of the Governor and his ability to control the events, the courtroom, the judges and the end result as the author takes the reader deep inside the judicial and legal system. As Margaret Tennant, the judge that is close to Marc alludes to she wonders why some become lawyers and how they manage to survive on what they make. Fees need to paid. Lawyers charge a lot of money and Marc hires a detective increasing his costs even more. But, one single locker key, sneakers and laundered clothes are just some of the evidence planted to make sure that Carl Fornich is found guilty. But, can Marc clear his name? At what cost and if he loses what will happen to his career? But, think about what will happen if he wins? Evidence and information comes to light that changes the complexion of the case as information about his client comes to light.


Working with Maddy Rivers brought Marc some relieve her skills really great but could she find out what he needed about the cops, the victims, and the evidence.  But, what we learn about the Governor and the pressure he brings to bear on the judge assigned the case, the prosecutor makes the reader wonder if this is fact or fiction! Then things start to come into place about the case with the IRS as Marc explains to the new attorney on record the facts about the unpaid payroll taxes for the restaurant his ex-wife worked for as a bookkeeper and the fact that the IRS hounded her for the back taxes. He explains the rest and his feelings about the government as the lawyer for the appeal listens but then re-explains it to Marc but not quite in the terms he expected. Just what did they have planned to make Marc take a plea bargain for his client? The wheels of justice really move in many directions within this novel and the reader learns just how some lawyers, judges and even high officials use their positions or stations to create their own outcomes.  Although this is a work of fiction you begin to wonder just how much is real fact. Lawyers that are honest work hard and some sacrifice their families and private lives for their clients. Marc works for a small firm and needs to try and rebuild what he is losing taking on Carl as a client. If he worked for a larger and more powerful firm would the outcome change? What does the Governor know about him that would force him to sell out his client?


The Key to Justice has many multiple meanings if you look deep and hard at the events within this novel. Is the key how lawyers and judges handle cases and get to the honest truth? Is the Key to Justice where someone is convicted and the end result is the prosecution wins and the suspect loses but justice is served? Is the Key to Justice finding out the truth, believing in your client and doing everything to prevent what is happening to Carl from happening to anyone else? Is the key to justice to question the government and stand tall when their actions are not correct? You decide when you read this thought provoking novel and decide just how far would you go to get the verdict, conviction or end result that you feel is justified? Just how far would you go to protect someone you care about even if they are guilty?


Corruption, deceit, lies, fraud, tampering and much more are just part of what is brought out in this book. An ending that will make you wonder about the legal system, lawyers, witness tampering and much more. Just who is the killer you won’t believe? Who is guilty and who finds themselves on the wrong side of the bars at the end? Read The Key to Justice and you decide whether it was served or not! Author Dennis L. Carstens takes the reader inside the courtroom, explains the trial process and allows the reader to hear the inner most thoughts of both the attorneys, witnesses and the guilty. Just how far will you go to protect someone you love? Just how far will someone go to protect his client? Just who is guilty? The Key to Justice: Which Door Does it Open?

An ending that will keep the reader guessing and hoping that he’s going to bring Marc back for another novel.  With the extensive research and explanations of courtroom procedures and trial practices this book can serve as a resource for paralegals and new lawyers.


Fran Lewis: reviewer








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