Hello Nicholas. It’s great to welcome you to the blog today. Please tell me a little about your new book, Justice Gone and what inspired it?
Justice Gone was inspired by a true event, the fatal beating of a homeless man in a small Californian town. This was such an extreme case, and one which did not include any racial elements, that it exposed the utter abuse of authority in which an outraged public reaction was inevitable. The town was Fullerton, the man’s name was Kelly Thomas, and the year was 2011. Although the police officers were indicted by a grand jury, they were acquitted in their trial. So I asked myself a question: if someone felt that justice was denied the deceased, would they take it in their own hands? This became the seed for the story.
What elements do you feel need to be present in a thriller novel? What are the challenges?
Suspense, that is, the anticipation of what is going to come next, and this is usually accompanied by actions to some degree, although if you have enough skill, words alone can create this tension. Whichever way you accomplish this, the challenge is to persuade the reader to invest their interest in what is going on, and this includes sympathy for the protagonists.
This is the first part of a series featuring Dr Tessa Thorpe. What advice do you have for someone trying to develop a series and a strong character that will keep them coming back to read their story?
You need to become friends, or even love the character, knowing their faults as well as their admirable traits. In this way you know what they will say and can predict what they’ll do in any situation.
Actually Tessa first appeared in Journey Towards a Falling Sun, a story I wrote over 30 years ago, but eventually got published in 2014. It was a minor role, but one in which she was born, so to speak.
What’s your typical writing day like, where do you like to write and do you prefer silence?
I can write in the early mornings when I’m fresh, or in the evenings when I’m relaxed. usually the time between is non-productive. Silence is mandatory.
What’s your favourite word and why?
I don’t have a favourite word. I have a favourite colour, blue. Can I then say that “blue” is my favourite word?
Which author or book has made the biggest impression on you?
There several authors, spanning a century or so. Thomas Hardy for one, Elmore James for another.
Are you able to tell me anything about your current work in progress? What’s next for Tessa?
I have completed the manuscript for Woman in the Shadow, a psychological thriller, just needs a final edit. This actually was Tessa’s first feature role, i.e. I wrote this before Justice Gone, and then I shelved it because I wanted to write something with broader appeal first. In this story, Tessa goes one on one with a man under the delusion that he is a renowned terrorist. There is a lot more psychology in this one, and it’s more chilling than Justice Gone.
How long does it take you to write a book?
There is no set answer to this question. For example, it took me 7 years, intermittently, to write The Plain of Jars, while Justice Gone took me only 4 months. The complexity of the novel (The Plain of Jars, a historical novel, required months of research) is not the only factor. Life circumstances play a key role in providing opportunities and time free of worries which allows one to write without disturbance.
What do you like to do when not writing?
Relax in my garden and play with my dog.
Any advice for new writers or any writer experiencing writers block?
No, I don’t have any, for 2 reasons. I am still looking for a sure-fire remedy myself, and then everyone is different, so what works for one may not work for another. Perhaps relaxing with a couple of glasses of wine. Or smoke a joint. All I can say is that writer’s block to an author is like arthritis is to a tennis player.
Our review for Justice Gone:
(Reviewed by Chris.)
Justice Gone, a mystery/legal thriller which publishes February 22, 2019, touches upon many topical, controversial issues in today’s society as well as being a thrilling and engaging read. The story encapsulates current social issues: police brutality, homelessness, the plight of returning war veterans, the frenzy of the press, and the mechanics of the US judicial system.
“When a homeless war veteran is beaten to death by the police, stormy protests ensue, engulfing a small New Jersey town. Soon after, three cops are gunned down.
A multi-state manhunt is underway for a cop killer on the loose. And Dr. Tessa Thorpe, a veteran’s counselor, is caught up in the chase.
Donald Darfield, an African-American Iraqi war vet, war-time buddy of the beaten man, and one of Tessa’s patients, is holed up in a mountain cabin. Tessa, acting on instinct, sets off to find him, but the swarm of law enforcement officers gets there first, leading to Darfield’s dramatic capture.
Now, the only people separating him from the lethal needle of state justice are Tessa and ageing blind lawyer, Nathaniel Bodine. Can they untangle the web tightening around Darfield in time, when the press and the justice system are baying for revenge?î
Justice Gone is the first in a series of psychological thrillers involving Dr. Tessa Thorpe.
This is the first book I have read from author N.Lombadi Jr and I have to admit that I was hooked from the outset.
The book is dedicated to the memory of a man named Kelly Thomas who was beaten to death by the police in 2011 and what happened to him is used a basis for the start of this book.
The story is quite harrowing in parts and holds a mirror up to the US legal system where public perception and the being seen to get results is more important than the truth.
I found the book to be a very enjoyable read which is intellectually well-balanced – there is enough legal detail to keep you interested but not so much as to make you feel overwhelmed (a problem which some legal thrillers I have read have suffered from. Having to Google legal terms while reading ruins the flow!)
This is the first book to feature Dr Tessa Thorpe, a veterans councilor who has had run-ins with the legal system in the past. The characters are very relatable and well-formed and the pacing of the book is good. It draws you in. I read the whole thing in about four and a half hours.
All in all a good read and I am looking forward to more from N. Lombardi Jr and Dr Tessa Thorpe.
More about N. Lombardi Jr:
N. Lombardi Jr, the N for Nicholas, has spent over half his life in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, working as a groundwater geologist. Nick can speak five languages: Swahili, Thai, Lao, Chinese, and Khmer (Cambodian).
In 1997, while visiting Lao People’s Democratic Republic, he witnessed the remnants of a secret war that had been waged for nine years, among which were children wounded from leftover cluster bombs. Driven by what he saw, he worked on The Plain of Jars for the next eight years.
Nick maintains a website with content that spans most aspects of the novel: The Secret War, Laotian culture, Buddhism etc. http://plainofjars.net
His second novel, Journey Towards a Falling Sun, is set in the wild frontier of northern Kenya.
His latest novel, Justice Gone was inspired by the fatal beating of a homeless man by police.
Nick now lives in Phnom Penh, Cambodia
Visit his goodreads page:
Justice Gone has been released today (22nd February) by Roundfire. Click to view on Amazon UK.