The Hanging Judge - Michael Ponsor There are tons of mysteries and courtroom dramas novel seen in the perspective of the lawyer, the law enforcement officer, and even the indicted. But The Hanging Judge may be the first novel I have read that is mainly in the perspective of the judge. It is because the author, Michael Posner has been a judge since 1984 and is currently a judge in the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts.. It's nice to see a novel written by someone who knows all the facts, intricacies and problems that abound in our legal system.

Of course, it is even better that Michael Ponsor is an excellent writer and shows an amazing amount of promise in his debut novel. The author takes on the issue of capital punishment in this taut courtroom drama. the main protagonist, David Norcross, is a judge with some deep doubts about the legal system, especially pertaining to capital punishment. He is assigned a case involving a drive-by shooting resulting in the death of a gang member and a respected member of the community. It is clear almost from the beginning who is guilty and who is innocent but that is not really the point. This is more of a drama than a mystery as its main focus is on the actions and emotions of the principles who are caught up in the situation. There are no simple actions or answers throughout this well-developed story. I became very involved in the tale and pretty much read through the night to see what would happen. It has a satisfying climax but this is a story that is too realistic for a Perry Mason "I did it" ending. Various plot diversions come into being and culminate at the end always staying true and realistic to the story with good guys, bad guys but mostly people in between doing things is the best way they know how to.

Yes, I'm being vague. I have to be because there are so many nice touches to this novel that I don't want to spoil them. Anyone who enjoy mysteries, suspense, or courtroom drama should place this on their list as a must-read.