Tainted Justice


Tainted Justice is Duke Southard’s seventh novel, including the popular four-part Detective Parker Havenot series. The previous six novels have all been finalists in the New Mexico/Arizona Books Awards, and two, A Favor Returned and The Final Tipping Point, have garnered other finalist recognitions as well.

His short works have earned numerous awards, including two first-place awards in the Society of Southwestern Authors Writing Contest for “Three Weeks” and “A Night on the Ice.” His memoir essay, “The Fallacy of Closure,” placed first in the prestigious Writer’s Digest Literary Awards Competition.

Southard has received an Edie, the New Hampshire Excellence in Education Award, for his outstanding contribution to the school library/media profession in the state. His educational credentials include a BS degree from Villanova University and advanced degrees from Rowan University and Boston University. He is married with three children and lives in southern Arizona.

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Tainted Justice is, at its most basic, about race relationships and investigative journalism. Could it be any more relevant? . . . With insightful dialogue and a compelling storyline that engages the reader, Tainted Justice is a pleasure to read.”

—Sharon Kennedy, Author of Struggle and Strength: Eight Women with Lives Most Unusual and Classroom at the End of the Line

“Newspaper reporter Josh Solomon and his sidekick/girlfriend become tenacious detectives in award-winning author, Duke Southard’s captivating seventh novel, Tainted Justice. Together they uncover lies, deceit, racism, and ineptitude in the underbelly of their small town.”

—Suzie Sarkozy, Author of A Deal to Die For


High school senior Torrey Grimes has it all—All-State athletic honors, early decision college acceptance at the University of Pennsylvania, National Honor Society, and potentially the valedictorian of his class. That is, he had it all until he begins dating the captain of the cheerleading squad. Herb Charbonneau, the girl’s father and a fan of Torrey’s athletic abilities, takes extreme exception to this since Torrey happens to be Black and comes from an all-Black community several miles away. His arrangement for Torrey to be “taught a lesson” leads to a confrontation which results in Torrey being sent to prison for almost ten years.

After his release, an angry and bitter Grimes becomes obsessed with his exoneration for a crime he swears he did not commit. His search for an outlet for his “true story” lands squarely on reporter Josh Solomon. Torrey Grimes claims he wants no vengeance, no retribution, and no reparations, but what is his true motivation? It is Josh Solomon and his sidekick, the redoubtable Annie Porter, who must decide if justice was indeed denied in Torrey’s case, but powerful, even dangerous, obstacles threaten to block their efforts.


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