Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Law vs Justice

Dixie Flannigan is another new favorite character for me. She's a former assistant district attorney who had been dedicated to bringing about justice. But, of course, in real life in court, law does not always equate with justice. As a matter of fact, too often legal battles leave a lot of justice still to be desired. So, when she gets fed up with the lack of jsut in the justice system from the prosecutor's perspective, Dixie decides to take another tack and becomes a bounty hunter. Having developed and nurtured a reputation as a hard-ass attorney, she takes that bitch factor and now applies it to rounding up those trying to outrun the long arm of the law.

The story begins two days before Christmas and Dixie is in no mood for hunting down yet another criminal making a run for it. But when she finds out that Parker Dann, on trial for killing a child in a drunk driving accident and not even remembering the event, may well be on the run during the holiday court break, she decides to make the trek from Houston to North Dakota in a blizzard to bring him back to finish his trial. Dixie has a serious axe to grind with child predators and she is eager to get this one back to Houston to face the jury and his receive justice for the little girl he allegedly mowed down.

When she does her own investigation before court resumes, however, Dixie is shaken to her core. Could it be that Parker Dann is not guilty of hit and run drunk driving? Is Betsy Keyes' accidental death is linked to the accidental drowning death of her sister Courtney? Is the baby sister Ellie is in danger as well? Dixie has to act quickly to save not only an innocent man, but possibly an innocent child.

I like Dixie. She's doesn't come across to me as a simplistic cardboard character, but is complex and intriguing. She is hard as nails when it comes to criminals and bail jumpers. But she has a soft side for her family and for abused children in general, having been abused herself as a child before having been adopted by a loving family she credits with having saved her life. Dixie's sister, brother-in-law and nephew are fun to read about, too, and I got a kick out of their interactions. They're about the only people on the planet who can get under Dixie's skin. But in spite of that weakness, or maybe because of that love and support, Dixie is a strong woman with a singular devotion to the truth, no matter how painful and unsettling it might be. Besides, I can't help liking anybody willing to stand up for abused children.

Bitch Factor was a little intense, so I'm probably going to wait a bit before getting the next one. But I'm pretty sure I'll be reading Rage Factor and Chill Factor before too long.