Beyond Justice: Joshua Graham
You are standing in the center of a room filled with mirrors of many different magnitudes that show every side of a person’s face, body and form. Within this there are several other images or reflections seen within this mirror staring back at you. On your left is a man that took away the lives of everyone dear to you. A man brutally beat your wife, raped and beat your young daughter and used a bat on your son’s head putting him into a coma. On your left is the detective whose goal it is to make sure that you pay for the murders committed by this other man. Caring little for the truth, not really concerned about your guilt or innocence this detective hunts down evidence, fabricates the truth and persists until her brand of justice is served. Take the journey with Sam Hudson as he enters his home and we watch within the many reflections within this mirror as author Joshua Graham takes us inside his home, up the staircase to his bedroom and the horrific sight that greets him. Coming home from a business meeting, finding his house alarm disarmed, thinking his wife forget to set it, Sam enters his home, walks up the stairs only to find his wife, daughter and son brutally beaten. Jennifer loses her fight but not before uttering the names of her two children as Sam feverishly runs into each of their rooms only to see more of the same. Beaten, blood all over and no sign of life he screams, shouts and prays that someone will come to his aid but no one does.
Found outside of his home he looks up when he gains consciousness to find his wife’s Pastor, Pastor Dave there to lend more than just a helping hand. But, from the start things seem odd as the police show up, the questioning begins and the hunt for a killer stops right there. Anita Pearson, the Detective in charge opens her questioning in such a way that you know from the get go that she thinks Sam is guilty. Relentless in her pursuit, hoping for a major promotion, she manages to manipulate the higher ups into giving her the search warrant she wants, fabricating evidence and piling on what she things will help solidify her case against Sam.
As the investigation proceeds the DA Warden, his ADA Kenneth Dudd pull several stunts of their own as they try to wreak out a confession from Sam, But, Sam is sharp, savvy, and definitely not going to fall prey to their bullying and tricks. Questioned, samples of his DNA taken and sent to a lab he is placed in a room and demands to make a phone call and call a lawyer. Held for many hours, no phone call allowed, chastised, humiliated and aware that they are definitely looking no further, they finally let him go. But, not for long as he is arrested for the murders of his wife and daughter and attempted murder and beating of his son, Aaron. Distraught, angry, frustrated and hoping for someone to come forward to help him, Pastor Dave, the Pastor of his wife’s church, his church group embrace him in every way. Evidence is piled up as the author allows readers to hear the voices of the many detectives and DA’s that are bent on pinning this murder on Sam. Enter Rachel Cheung, a young lawyer, eager to prove his innocence, befriending Sam and placing her own life on hold in order to defend him. But, the DA is shrewd or he thinks he’s shrewd offering him a deal that would prevent a trial, put him in jail for life and spare him the death penalty.
Look at the many images now within the mirror as you not only see the face of the killer smiling back at you but the DA, Pearson, The Judge and the jury as they all remain on the left side hoping to make you, in the middle disappear leaving only them and the face of the killer reflecting back.
Trials that will make you shudder. Evidence that comes out of nowhere and a jury that hears both sides but which one do they really listen to? A young lawyer that works really hard but DNA samples that tells a different story as Sam is convicted of not only murder but also rape and sentenced to die.
Author Joshua Graham takes readers inside a courtroom so filled with bias, unscrupulous lawyers and a Judge that tries but just how hard. Listen to the testimony, hear the DA give the chain of events as he thinks they happened and you wonder how he managed to create this story and which side of the fence of justice he is really on. Is it the conviction that matters or is there some hidden agenda that has yet to be brought to light? As Anita Pearson takes the stand and formulates her own theories and then Sam’s voice is heard the sides are almost balanced until the DNA results are revealed. Could they have been tampered with? Did Sam really download porn on his work computer? Why was he fired right after his arrest? Why did everyone turn against him?
Sent to prison we learn the harsh realities of prison life as Sam enters more than more cell, is beaten many times and we learn of the corruption, betrayals and deceit within the walls of a prison that is supposed to protect the prisoners. Guards that are dirty and some that instigate gang fights, Sam is placed in many dangerous situations and manages to somehow survive.
A search warrant that was handed to Pearson and executed before the date stamped on it. Evidence that was fabricated yet no one really cared. Computer software that was compromised. Identity theft, credit card theft and spyware that was placed on his and other computers as one simple and innocent internet encounter puts it all in perspective but too late.
When another innocent father is arrested for the same crime as Sam evidence comes to light that will hopefully bring some bearing on his innocence. But, not before his lawyer is injured in a serious accident by the killer, Pastor Dave’s church is on fire and other lives are in danger as a wonderful woman of the church loses her life because a killer wants to revenge and sends a strong message to anyone who dares to help Sam.
Within this storyline there is an important subplot that brings to light what happens when Sam becomes immersed in religion, meets Frank Bishop a priest convicted of murder and begins to have visions that lead him to believe that God might be speaking directly to him. When two other prisoners die and the evidence falls to their hearing God’s voice tell them what they needed to do another revelation comes front and center. Look deep within the mirrors and see the face of a man so vile, so vicious that he manipulated computer programs, committed credit card fraud, identity theft and even managed to create an Internet game that fooled so many. One woman’s cyber lover to another a school friend and the end result when arrested you just won’t believe who and why has yet to be revealed. But, will this help free Sam? Will it exonerate those he framed?
Getting to know the killer and hearing his voice relate just how brilliant, devious, cunning and smart he makes your blood curdle. His explanations and rationalizations as to why he chose his particular victims frightening making you wonder just why no one realized that this person was hiding in plain sight with power to destroy so many.
As the evidence piles up and Sam’s freedom is on the line another life hangs in the balance and he is helpless to save it. From the cells of each prison, to the earthquake that started a chain of events that would rock more than the walls of his jail cell, author Joshua Graham takes readers inside the mind of a psychopathic killer, a convicted priest, a man named Sam Hudson and the police. But, Sam begins to have visions and thinks that he has connected with God and that God wants him to forgive the killer.
As you look into the mirror and you see the faces within the glass which ones become clearer and which ones fade from view? The killer stands on your right and the arresting officers on the left. Which one’s image will remain and whose will fade?
A relentless pursuit for justice as Sam fights for his freedom and the life of his son. Forgiveness, understanding, love, family values, religious beliefs, trust, betrayal, lies and deceit are just some of the themes the author brings to light within this mystery/thriller. Beyond Justice: if you look past the glass and deep inside you will see a light shine and above it one word: Forgiveness: A story that could be ripped right out the headlines and characters that are vividly depicted and a plot that is fast paced, well crafted and keeps you glued to the printed page. An ending you won’t see coming and a twist that will leave you wondering: Which face deserves forgiveness? Which face in the mirror can you forgive? Sam Hudson? You decide! Beyond Justice: Was it served?
Fran Lewis: Reviewer