Justified by De’Nesha Diamond and Briana Cole

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Justified by De’Nesha Diamond and Briana Cole
Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corp
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery/Suspense/Thriller, anthology
Rating: 4 stars
Reviewed by Ginger

BLACK AND BLUE by DE’NESHA DIAMOND
In one shattering night, Charlie Warren’s fiancé is killed, she is attacked—and then framed as part of a police cover-up. Five years later, with nothing to lose, Charlie is free and vengefully exposing their operation, provoking their enemies—and turning the officers against each other. But when a detective gets way too close, Charlie has to decide between getting ultimate justice . . . or going down in a brutal crossfire of betrayal.

PSEUDO by BRIANA COLE

To elude an abusive ex, Kennedy stole several other women’s identities. Many new—and luxurious—lives later, she’s one of the best con artists in the world. But now one of those women is dead—and Kennedy is in the crosshairs. She’ll need to pull off one crucial, flawless deception before a merciless adversary takes her, and her glamorous unreal life, out for good.

BLACK AND BLUE by DE’NESHA DIAMOND

Charlie Jean Warren, has lived a full life. She followed in her family’s footsteps in completing a military career and now she’s obtained her nursing degree. It’s finally time to settle down with her high school sweetheart Hennessey Rawlins. What could go wrong on the night that Hennessy proposes?

Everything. That night changed her life forever. Hennessey is killed and Charlie is attacked. Charlie can identify the attackers but instead Charlie is framed as part of a police cover-up and ends up doing five years in prison.

I finished this story in two settings. The action and shootout scenes I can visualize as they are played out. Readers will quickly find out the reason behind the feud between King Kong and Ramsey Holt. The author created an entertaining read as readers follow the drama and suspense to find out who was behind the hit on Charlie and Hennessey. It was hard for me not to feel for the character. After being helpless and feeling hopeless Charlie’s display of strength is courageous. I enjoyed how the author made the lead character so real. None of the things she did were planned but after knowing who she couldn’t trust I can understand her desire in taking the opportunity to find out the truth and also get revenge.

I appreciate the short scenes between Charlie and Hennessey’s look-a-like. The author gave just enough bedroom scene to make the character seem real and human keeping with the mission and not watering it down with romance. The bond between Charlie and her sisters was inspiring. They cared about their sister but didn’t truly understand the impact the loss of her fiancé and unborn child had on her. Charlie’s heartfelt words spoken to her sisters helped them understand her need for justice. ‘Our lives mean something. Hennessy’s life meant something even if he wasn’t perfect. Even if he was guilty of some of the things they accused him of in court. He didn’t deserve to be killed on the side of the road as if he was trash.’

In this compelling story that I enjoyed, Charlie’s justice was justified. The author wrapped it up nicely and explained who was behind the hit and exposed the dirty cops for their greed.

PSEUDO by BRIANA COLE

The excerpt says ‘To elude an abusive ex, Kennedy stole several other women’s identities.’ Sounds interesting enough for me to read. But the story is more about a greedy uncaring individual that wants what is not hers. She was not likable and as I was reading I was hoping she would find the error in her ways and correct her lifestyle. If the author’s attention was to get the reader to dislike Kennedy, it worked. I did not like her at all, not one bit. If you are looking for a book about a strong woman that has overcome her struggles this is not it. I didn’t understand her motive for stealing innocent women identities to take their money and mess up their credit. I can understand hiding from an ex but hiding in the same town you grew up in, just didn’t seem like the wises of places to hide. There are several loop holes and a lot going on in such a short amount of pages but I’ll focus on the overall story and what I think the author was trying to say.

The author did have an interesting plot in mind and I was able to follow along. I rated half a point higher because I do like the idea the author had in writing the book. I think I was so bothered by Kennedy’s actions that I didn’t give much attention to who was committing the murders. So the half a point for suspense and the author does have a talent for telling a story.

I’m still trying to piece together Benji’s part in the book and the family tree of Lewis, Kennedy’s first husband. Also, I’m not sure how this story fits in with the title Justified. I didn’t find anything justifiable about any of it.

Finally, even with those listed reservations I mentioned above, I found this was a well written story. I was still intrigued to see what lengths Kennedy would go to next, and the story kept my attention and managed to deliver an unpredictable ending.

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