Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (11/15)
“The Presence of Justice” by Elvis Bray is a murder mystery that takes place in a small town called Clarksville in Arizona. When seventeen-year-old Andy’s father gets a position as the Assistant Chief of Police in Clarksville, the family makes the move. Andy’s educational skills are very advanced for this little town. His football playing, martial artist, shooting and mystery solving skills are also way above the level of his peers. When he moves in, he decides to make a difference, but not everyone values his ideas for change. For example, Hairy Larry, the class bully, is very opposed to Andy’s interest in wanting to make the football team a championship team; he also does not appreciate Andy’s romantic interest in Shayla, because he likes her too. Andy has to rely on his strategic and martial arts abilities to handle the situation.
Speaking of Shayla, for Andy it seems like love at first sight. For Shayla, who is dealing with the grief and pain from the death of a close friend, it is going to take a lot to get her attention in a positive way. While Andy is circumventing issues that arise from being the new kid in town that wants to make changes, he continues in his pursuit of Shayla. He also gets caught up in the murder mystery that his father is determined to solve. As new clues come to light, so do more deaths. In some ways, for a small town, there is a lot going on.
I totally enjoyed reading “The Presence of Justice.” There are some grammatical issues that could be cleaned up with more editing. The author Elvis Bray did an excellent job of creating a true mystery that also had some laugh-out-loud humorous situations. He gave the protagonist a great deal of depth, even if he was a little too perfect. Tying in football, martial arts, horses, and murder creates a really fun read. If a high school student needs a book to read for a class, this is the perfect choice. I think that teens and young adults will really enjoy this story. Even as a middle-aged woman, I had a great time getting caught up in the small town drama. I look forward to reading future books by this author.