Books by Ron Handberg

CRY VENGEANCE by Ron Handberg
Released: Oct. 1, 1993

Jessica Mitchell, a new reporter on Alex Collier's Channel 7 Twin Cities news team (Savage Justice, 1992), goes off on her own to find out the truth about the murder of accused rapist Edward Hill—and uncovers a vigilante court of last resort for the victims of sex offenders. Forging an unlikely alliance with Captain Bill Meecham, the half- retired, half-drunk head of Homicide, Jessica links Hill's death to several other unsolved homicides of rapists and child molesters in the Twin Cities area. The culprits are the members of the Craft Club, women who've been denied justice in the courts and are now taking the law into their own hands. In the hands of a subtler moralist, the pivotal Craftswoman would be Hennepin County prosecutor Sarah Andrews, who is inflamed by a justice system that winks at the likes of alleged molester Lowell Ingram and lets him off without a day of prison time, but who's still reluctant to countenance the Craft Club's extreme- prejudice reprisals. Handberg wavers in this direction when the Club kidnaps and humiliates Ingram, who starts to feed information to Jessica even as he's threatening Sarah with counter-revenge for her revenge. Mainly, though, Handberg chooses to focus instead on Lt. Freda Brinkman, an over-the-top rogue cop who's both Meecham's right- hand investigator and the Club's least conscience-stricken dispenser of summary justice. The battle of wits between Jessica and Brinkman stays on a cartoon level as Brinkman stalks Jessica, arranges an accident for Meecham, and plans to kidnap Jessica along with Sarah's weak-link roommate—rape victim Kim Hawkins (``an open, bleeding wound'')—while Jessica, with eligible rookie prosecutor Jack Tomlinson, closes in on the Channel 7 exclusive that will shut down the Craft Club for good. Connect-the-dots suspense, with a subtext about vigilante justice that's too crude and confused to be truly insulting. Read full book review >
SAVAGE JUSTICE by Ron Handberg
Released: June 1, 1992

On the eve of Judge Emmett Steele's appointment to the Minnesota Supreme Court, Twin Cities TV news anchor Alex Collier gets a red-hot tip that the judge has been picking up and abusing underage boys. The source: Alex's old girlfriend Pat Hodges, now married to one of Steele's protÇgÇs on the bench. Alex, a rolling stone new to Minneapolis, goes after the story despite his misgivings about seeing Pat (whom he's soon seeing plenty of again) but doing his own investigative reporting. With the help of an uncompleted news profile of Judge Steele by mysteriously missing reporter Daniel Grabowski and the testimony of young hustler Rick McDaniel, Steele's latest victim, and Roger Anderson, a former victim now turned houseboy for the judge, Alex is able to piece together a damning chain of evidence. But the judge, not one to sit still, counterattacks by putting pressure on Alex's weaselly boss Nicholas Hawke to kill the story and by kidnapping Roger, though he never quite manages to kill him. There's more, of course—including a nice climactic sequence in which Alex and Co., having decoyed Hawke away to a conference so that they can tape the story, try to figure out ways to delay his return (letting air out of his car's tires as it sits at the airport, locking him out of the control booth)—but not much you couldn't have thought of yourself, and you don't even have first- novelist Handberg's TV news credentials. The character stereotypes are forgivable, but the predictable plotting and wooden writing aren't. Better skip this one and go straight to the videotape. Read full book review >