From the moment you start reading Jackson’s novel you start rooting for the good guys. Power, money and corruption are the name of the game in Judge Spade’s courthouse – the Buller Boys Rule! The Marshalls sell cocaine, indiscriminately “wand” attractive women, torment petty criminals and swagger up and down the marble corridors of power knowing they’ve got what it takes – testosterone! You almost find yourself feeling sorry for the foul-mouthed bully Swan, who starts to look like one of the good guys in this cesspool of white collar crime. In fact you can’t put the book down because you are so ready for Felix the janitor to get the bad guys. “The idea was to turn the house of justice into a house of cards.”
Clearly Jackson with a forty year career as a Court Administrator has seen it all from the Judge’s $75,000 dollar cars that regularly flood the court parking lot, to their pettiness around the placement of toilet rolls in the bathrooms. The cool as cucumber Court Manager David Raston floats through the book as an independent observer trying to make sure that everyone tows the line, while his alter ego Felix is busy placing a variety of entertaining, well-described but never boring, high-tech spying equipment around the courthouse. The question is where does reality end and fiction start. We all know these types, the arrogant, privileged ones who have the little people like us by the short hairs, and Jackson brings them to us like a cat with a mouse in his fast-paced caper.
You are so ready for Lynn Rancour the independent and feisty reporter for the local Sentinel, to ask the difficult questions of these “good ole boys”. As Felix says to her over dinner “I think you believe in justice but understand that, sometimes, extraordinary measures are required to get it.”
And by the way what do American men really think of women? Jackson has just about caught them all in his book - the misogynists that objectify them, the ones that good-naturedly appreciate their better assets “legs like Rockettes”, and the loyal, smart, trustworthy romantics like Felix and Marshall John Jenkins. But make no mistake this is not a foolish book; this is a deadly serious look at how we’ve all been co-opted into the grey area, like attorney Jeremy George.
Barby’s Bar is the place where all the legal and political deals in the city are cut on a daily basis. It is owned by the matriarch of the Buller clan Helga Buller, Gross mutter, a northeastern steel magnolia. “Grandmother you run everything, Onkel Henry and Onkel Andre run the courts, you run the real estate, Dad runs the bail business, you and Onkel Walt own the politicians…….”
With wit and an insider’s keen eye, Jackson leads us exactly where we want to go at the end of this very funny and cynical look at the justice system. I can’t wait to see what he has up his sleeve for Felix, Lyn and Raston the next time around. This is a book you don’t want to end and one where you’ll be eagerly waiting for the next installment.