Injustice - K A Kron,  Brenda Leffller Based on the book blurb, I picked this up thinking the lead character Riley to be some sort of vigilante, so I was expecting a drama or thriller where she goes around secretly saving people a la Batman. She's an avenging angel alright, and her heart seems to be in the right place, but, while Batman and company skirt the fine line between legal and illegal, Riley plunges headlong into the dark side. Her bag of tricks would put the CIA to shame.

A couple of things make this book a very uncomfortable read. While Batman and the CIA may use their 'dirty tricks' against terrorists and mega villains who maim and kill, Riley wields her weapons against ordinary people--a bipolar stalker, a homophobic boss, an annoying next door neighbor, a friend who deals on the side--ordinary people who could have easily been dealt with by the law. What takes the cake is Riley is a law student, and a seemingly good one at that, but it never occurs to her to use legal means to get back at these alleged 'criminals'.

Another incredibly disturbing thing for me is Riley's utter lack of empathy towards her unwitting targets. Oh, there is the occasional expression of doubt, but the precision and detail of the execution of her secret 'missions' screams sociopath in big neon signs. Riley's first 'intervention' was a guy who stalked and tried to rape his ex-girlfriend. He was bipolar and Riley's solution to get him off the girl's back was to substitute his meds with identical looking pills...for the purpose of making him go crazy(!). I can't imagine how many things are so wrong with this scenario. Not to mention how many illegal acts she committed to get this done. Even before this issue was settled, Riley was on to her next 'mission'. A casual friend was fired by a homophobic boss on trumped up charges. As a law student, she could have easily figured out the half a dozen or so discrimination and sexual harassment charges she could have thrown at the boss and the employer. But where is the sexiness in that? ;-) So Riley goes about methodically destroying the man's reputation. She breaks into a secure police database, plants false info that the boss is a sex offender, and proceeds to distribute flyers with his picture on it around the neighborhood (!). She then proceeds to blackmail the guy into hiring her friend back.

Riley's third almost-victim was a nosy elderly neighbor of a dubious friend--whose only 'sin' had been to call the police on the friend's raucous activities. Fortunately, Riley figured out just in time that her so-called friend was a drug dealer and the old lady neighbor was the saint (phew! that was close--I was actually afraid for the elderly neighbor!). Rambo Riley's solution to the problem was to commit about a dozen or so felonies (probably more if I knew anything more about law than what I see on TV). Would you believe she planted WEAPONS and EXPLOSIVES in her poor friend's apartment? But that was after she stole the friend's stash of drugs and drug money. And check this out--she set fire to the apartment! All of this supposedly to help the 'nosy lady' get rid of this drug-dealing friend. I suppose Riley thought the old lady wouldn't mind having her house burned down in the process as long as it got the drug dealer out of the way? ;-)

If you're wondering why I read this far, it's because of the 5 star reviews on Amazon. I couldn't help but wonder if I missed something. Or if it would get better...or if Riley's actions or motivations could be explained away somehow somewhere later in the book. I managed to reach about halfway before I finally gave up. And I really tried. But I just couldn't bring myself to read more when all I felt was like I was reading the memoirs of a sociopath. No thanks. Oh, I did jump to somewhere near the end...and landed on a page where Riley was busy waterboarding someone. ugh! I skipped right to the end then, and managed to catch Riley planning how to off the pesky stalker bf with an o.d.

This book is billed as the first of a series, and it does seem to end on a cliffhanger. But readers shouldn't have to wait for the second book to find out that the lead character they've spent good money on, and took a day or two to get to know, was actually the villain.