Author: Ben Matthews
Publisher: Rushton Press
Genre: Legal Thriller
“A satisfying, well plotted mystery that should please the court.” — Kirkus Reviews
Attorney Raymond Jackson is troubled by ethics charges, his failing practice, and memories of his still missing sister. When he agrees to resolve the ethics charges by taking on a case from the public defender, he gets saddled with a client nobody wants. The client is charged with the murder of his former girlfriend, an exotic dancer who was pregnant at the time of the crime. Investigating the State’s key witness, Ray discovers several similar unsolved murders from the past few years. Needing help, Ray must turn to the man he trusts the least. Ray also becomes involved in a money laundering investigation with his old girlfriend. As the bodies pile up, Ray finds himself framed for murder on the eve of trial. When the investigations collide, the cases become personal and Ray must choose between justice for his client or himself.
“Matthews…keeps the pages turning.”—Kirkus Reviews
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Q: Please tell us about The Pursuit of Justice and what inspired you to write it.
A: The Pursuit of Justice is a legal mystery thriller set in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Ray Jackson is an attorney with ethical issues as a result of neglecting his practice. As part of the resolution of these problems, he gets appointed to represent Bo Heath, a client no one wants, in a murder case. Ray comes to believe in his client’s innocence as he investigates a string of deaths similar to the murder in his case. Then Ray gets dragged into a money laundering case with an ex-girlfriend. As Bo’s case comes to trial, Ray is accused of murdering a witness in the money laundering investigation and must choose justice for himself or his client.
I love mysteries and I’m a lawyer so the genre is a good fit for me. My wife inspired me to write a novel. She’s says I was complaining about the books I was reading and told me to write my own. It happened to be November which is ‘Write a novel in a month’ month. At the end of the month, I had a story that after 6 years of learning is now a novel.
Q: What themes do you explore in The Pursuit of Justice?
A: The book looks at justice from a lawyer’s point of view which can be different from that of a layman. The book opens with Ray Jackson, the main character, facing ethical charges. An important part of the story (don’t let this scare you away) is how Ray responds to his ethical obligations as an attorney as he seeks justice for his clients. His decisions about whether to abide by the rules or not lead to many, sometimes serious, problems for Ray. One reader has confessed to a better understanding of how a lawyer has to think.
It also views justice from a personal perspective. Life is rarely truly just. It’s not fair and the challenge that Ray Jackson faces is how to respond to injustice. Ray has not responded well in the past.
Q: Why do you write?
A: I found that I really enjoy it. Before I started The Pursuit of Justice, I did not write regularly. In the dedication of my book I say that there were times when my wife regretted that she suggested that I write. And that is true because there have been times when she hasn’t been able to tear me away from the computer. There have also been times when I just didn’t want to touch it.
Q: How picky are you with language?
A: I’m pretty picky. I’ll go over a line many, many times. I like to cut and paste a paragraph or section to a separate page and work on it until I’ve got it right. And that goes back to the enjoyment of writing. It’s really good to get the perfect line or description. And they just don’t come to me, it’s takes a lot of polish. Then when I change a line a few paragraphs later, I might have to come back and rework a previous section.
And I am very, very picky with dialogue. It’s my favorite stuff to write and I play it aloud in my head time after time. For me, it’s some of the easiest writing to get on paper the first time but also some of the most difficult to get exactly right.
Q: When you write, do you sometimes feel as though you were being manipulated from afar?
A: No, but I am directed by my characters. It is odd how I would envision a scene as I sit down to write and it would turn out somewhat differently because of the constraints and freedom my characters give me.
Q: What is your worst time as a writer?
A: Lately it has been making time to sit at the computer.
Q: Your best?
A: So much of what I’ve been doing is rewriting as I learned how to write a novel. My best time writing has been when I’ve gotten an idea for a change and then taken through the book and saw how it made the story better.
Q: Is there anything that would stop you from writing?
A: Unfortunately, my work gets in the way constantly. It’s hard to complain about a growing practice but it takes time away from my writing.
Q: What’s the happiest moment you’ve lived as an author?
A: When I got my review from Kirkus. It was so great to have someone I don’t know say they really enjoyed The Pursuit of Justice.
Q: Is writing an obsession to you?
A: It is not. I don’t have the time for that. I have a growing law practice, my wife and 5 children. Four have now graduated college, two are married so we are constantly on the go.
Q: Are the stories you create connected with you in some way?
A: It is a legal mystery and I am a lawyer. It’s set in Myrtle Beach, SC where I vacationed as child and as an adult. We’ll be there for a week at the end of May this year with all the family. And the main murder in The Pursuit of Justice is based on a murder case I had 20 years ago. It involved DNA and, in real life, my client was acquitted.
Q: Ray Bradbury once said, “You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you.” Do you agree?
A: I don’t agree. I need the reality so that it can infuse my writing. Ray Jackson is a regular person. He doesn’t do anything that one of us couldn’t do if we decided it was the right thing. He makes mistakes and he has regrets. But he also succeeds. I think working with people and helping them through their difficulties gives me insight about how people from different backgrounds respond to their situations.
But, I do write for the same reason I read. To escape.
Q: Where is your book available?
A: The Pursuit of Justice is available on line at Amazon, Barnes & Nobles and my website, www.thepursuitofjustice.com.
Q: Do you have a website or blog where readers can find out more about you and your work?
I’m still trying to figure that part out. www.thepursuitofjustice.com has some information.
Thank you so much for choosing to include The Pursuit of Justice in your blog. Please let me know if you have any more questions.
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