“Judith looked out over the four acres of green grass; at the children moving, criss-crossing the soccer fields; at the sudden crash of bodies and the referee in the black knit shirt with the white V-neck collar, standing over the two boys tangled on the ground. He paused, wrote something on a pad of paper, and raised his hand to the sky, a yellow card at his fingertips. She tried to remember. Yellow was a foul. It was red that got you ejected from the game. From the other side of the field several parents let loose a barrage of verbal assaults on the referee; from the home team coach came a polite but audible ‘Thank you ref.’ It was a different sport, soccer. No hitting from behind. No scissor kicks to the ankles. It was a plenty physical game, but you didn’t hurt people – at least, not intentionally. ‘Ref… sub’, the coach yelled. The linesman raised his red and black, checkered flag to draw the referee’s attention to the request and a sweating, panting boy raced to the sideline as another took his place. The coach, an island of calm in a torrent of emotion, turned to the exhausted youth and putting his arm solidly around his shoulder, bent to whisper in his ear, firmly admonishing, ‘You’re too nice. You can’t be nice like that, son. He’ll run right over you to the goal and you’ll be flat on your back. You don’t have to hurt him or knock him over, but you’ve got to stop him. Next time pull his shirt. Come up close. Next to him.’ As he talked he demonstrated by tugging on the hem at the back of the boy’s shirt. He pulled again on his shirt, this time harder. The boy nodded slowly, not quite understanding.” But deputy district attorney Judith Thornton understood the instructions all too well.
In An Honorable Man, Judith Thornton is faced with a man accused of assaulting his young daughter. The man, Tom Russell, has been a devoted father who has never been in trouble before. Judith has seen the evidence, and knows Russell is innocent of the charges filed against him by her ambitious colleague Aaron Mercer. Judith has clashed with Mercer before and she’s not about to allow him to railroad someone for his own political ambitions. But how is Judith to get to the truth? and when she finds it, how will she use it to rescue Russell? The answers to these questions test Judith’s own core of ethics and the temptation to fight Mercer’s dirty tricks by breaking some of her own rules. Alan Larson, her nemesis in Guilty By Choice returns as Russell’s defense attorney, and an unlikely ally in Judith’s quest for justice. An Honorable Man is the fourth novel in the acclaimed Judith Thornton series. 283 pages.
In the first edition, An Honorable Man was titled Cruel Justice.