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This was the first book I ve read by Steve Hadden and I am so happy I found this book and this author My reviews never have spoilers, but what I can unequivocally tell you is this This book is captivating from the very first chapter The story is great, the plot is phenomenal, there are actually subplots within the main plot, the characters are well developed and oh, so believable Twists and turns in this thriller that keep you from putting this book down, kept me swiping my Kindle, you know, just onechapter, okay, just oneGives you exactly what you would expect in a mystery thriller secrets, lies, deception and corruption You just need to pick up this book and read it Caution Get a good chair, a beverage, and go to a place where you won t be interrupted because you will want to read this through to the end at the risk of overlooking anything else productive that you need to do First time reading from this author and was very impressed This book is a big page turner So well written that you can leave the reality of this world so easily into this book Each page you could feel as if you re the character living the life Well thought out There is a lot to like in this book, but also a lot to not like First, what I like the writing was great The plot and pacing moved well and I read a majority of the book in one setting as this was one of those books you get in to and just can t put down I felt the character development was great, not just for our main hero but for many of the secondary characters as well You can understand the reasoning behind the poor choices of some of the villains as well as the moral quandaries faced by our heroes Plus, the opening hook was also great The murder right out of the gate brought me visions of Orson Scott Card But then he failed to capitalize on it A ten year old being tried as an adult Ok, I can buy that but the media not having a field day with the injustice of such a rule and the controversy it would spark I don t buy I also don t buy the fact that two of our major protagonists also just happen to be former superstar athletes The lawyer being a former basketball star who led her Pitt women s team to the championship game OK The detective also being a quarterback who was the best QB to ever come out of this area Better than Joe Montana Nope Then, for good measure, let us make him an undefeated underground MMA star in the present day Why not Why not Because it adds ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to the plot It takes away, rather than adds to the quality of this book There were a few other things like that along the way where I was thinking, This isn t believable, and it isn t essential, so why is it here The worst of these by far was the big reveal near the end You knew a big reveal was coming, there were a hundred other things it could have been, but the surprise Hadden threw in there just killed the end I really wanted to enjoy this book It made for a fun Saturday afternoon read There were just too many little things that really shouldn t have mattered that keep me from rating this higher than a 3.Full disclosure, I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for what I hope is a fair and honest review. Great read Ike his sister , Maria, had their parents murdered Ike gave up a career, came home raised his young sister He started another career, as an investigator He took on the powerful, rich family to bring justice to murdered people The family business was dirty, as was law enforcement, judges, DA and others Ike was going to expose them. This was a really interesting read You have lots of interesting and deep characters, with security investigator Ike who came home, leaving his college football scholarship behind, to look after his nine year old sister, Marie, after their parents were murdered He comes into contact with a ten year boy called Jack Cole, accused of murder but also a shy, loner genius, outside the local courthouse and finds himself drawn to the boy.It reminds him of the injustice served in his parent s murder, with no suspects being found and no one held accountable Jack has admitted murder, but has said he killed the man to stop being killed himself Part of the story behind his father s death is involved somehow Ike decides to try and help the kid and his aunt Lauren who has custody.As well as the murder case against Jack, there is also a custody battle going on with the boy s grandparents, the Falzones, wanting custody over Jack Jack will be tried as an adult and with his admission of guilt, he is looking at a slam dunk case and life in prison There is only a week for Ike to gain any evidence and try to save Jack.The Falzone family is involved in secrets and all have their own reasons for wanting custody of Jack, who may know what his father found before his death and they can t afford anything leaking out and affecting their company To some of them, business comes before family, but at least some members of the family put family first.Ike tries to break through the Falzone family ties to get evidence to free Jack, but runs into cryptic clues being sent to him by Jack s dead father that makes the evidence location harder to find It also places Ike and everyone he holds dear, in the direct line of those after Jack Ike has to decide if he can live with the decisions he needs to make to keep the only remaining part of his family safe, or if he can live with himself if he breaks the promise to save Jack and find out who was behind all the trouble and deaths surrounding the case.An excellent thriller, with plenty of legal interaction, its keeps the flow going from chapter to chapter Ike is a complex character, with honour and a belief in keeping his word, learnt from his father, and a strong sense of family responsibility Then you have Jack, a small boy but also a genius, who finds it hard to communicate of make friends with others, as a murder suspect at such a young age.The pace of the book keeps your attention and just rolls from one incident to another Adding in all the other characters that are brought into the mix to muddy the waters and add danger at every step I read this in one sitting as I just couldn t wait to see how things worked out for Ike, Jack and their families A great thriller, a fantastic read and I can t wait forI received an ARC copy of this book from Hidden Gems and I have freely given my own opinion of the book above. The Victim of the System A well written, fast paced, action packed thriller, filled with suspense and an intriguing, dynamic plot The characters are interesting, well developed and likable, the good guys that is, but the bad guys fill out their roles, too This is probably the best of all of Hadden s stories, which is quite an accomplishment since his other books are also substantial reads Needs minor editing I received this book through AXP.com 5 The Sunset Conspiracy My first book by this author and I enjoyed it There are quite a few good people fighting quite a few criminals The story is fast paced with a believable storyline, although a time or two, it s too easy or unrealistic how an event turns out especially the ending I liked the characters and their realistic dialog and behavior The book could use some editing, but it s still good entertainment, nothing stupid I ll be reading his Swimming Monkeys next I received the Swimming Monkeys through AXP.com Genetic Imperfections Fast paced Action packed Intriguing Interesting, well developed characters that are so realistic, along with their thoughts and dialog A well thought out, twisting plot that the reader can immerse in for the length of the book Editing was better for this book compared to his other four books.Swimming Monkeys Series This is a new author to me and I liked his five books Swimming Monkeys consists of three action packed, fast paced suspense novels with interesting characters that kept developing along with the storyline I prefer books with science and technology, and the author did a good job with his descriptions and explanations The dialog was realistic and my favorite character is Thad, a cool dude my least favorite is Thad s brother All the books needed some editing, but not too distracting, although God is lower case a lot I received the author s books through AXP.com.Genesis 1 Genesis is complete but still has a cliffhanger ending A well written, suspense filled, action packed story with an interesting storyline All the characters are developed with realistic behavior and dialog The emotions run the gamut disbelief anger hate love deception fear bravery One part of the journey is completed the series continues with Revelation, the second book.Revelation 2 This book continues 60 minutes after the point Genesis ended Revelation is complete but has a cliffhanger ending A well written, suspense filled, action packed story with an interesting storyline filled with destruction every step of the journey our heroes make All the characters are developing, still with realistic behavior and dialog Emotions run the gamut disbelief anger hate love deception fear bravery and plenty of sacrifice by others While Thad is still a cool dude, there are others just as cool Another part of the journey is completed the series continues with Exodus.Exodus 3 Exodus picks up in the cliffhanger from Revelation The description of The Trail of Tears is quite incorrect, missing a lot of Indian tribes Well written suspense filled action packed Full of emotions and pain for all involved in this last leg of the journey The characters are multi faceted and realistic in their dialog and actions A very entertaining series of books This book needs editing. In The Victim Of The System, author Steve Hadden weaves a riveting thriller that follows private investigator Ike Rossi as he investigates the case of ten year old Jack Cole, who is going on trial for first degree murder of a family law attorney For Ike, this isn t your normal run of the mill investigation, it is an investigation that opens up painful memories of his own parents unsolved murder from twenty two years ago, and he can see so much of himself in young Jack that he feels compelled to help Jack clear his name in the justice system But there are people who want to stop Jack at all costs, and when Ike begins his investigation, he puts his own life in jeopardy So who will come out as the victim of the system, or will justice prevail Author Steve Hadden provides a multi layered storyline that has enough mystery, suspense, drama, treachery, secrets, legal interactions, and intriguing twists and turns that easily keeps the reader guessing He weaves an intricate and complicated web that interconnects three groups Ike s parents unsolved murder Jack s father s death and his belief that someone is out to get him next and Jack s maternal family, the very wealthy Falzone family who want to keep long held secrets buried deep and protect their business and fortune at all costs What ensues is a captivating unraveling of secrets and truths that come from beyond the grave in a series of code messages that hold the key to the answers Ike is pursuing.The Victim Of The System is an exciting and fast paced thriller that has realistic characters witty dialogue and interactions rich descriptions of the setting that transports the reader to Pittsburgh and its landmark locales and a multi layered storyline that easily draws the reader into the interconnection between the main characters as the pieces of the investigation puzzle surprisingly comes together.The Victim Of The System is the kind of thriller that easily keeps the reader captivated, guessing, on their toes, and wantingDisclaimer I received a copy of the book from the author publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.http jerseygirlbookreviews.blogspot 1119 Blackbird Court cul de sac Jack Cole 10, gifted child watched as the woman was holding Franklin Tanner Latham, Tanner McKee law firm family, attorney in her arms the man he had just killed.Allegheny County Courthouse Jenna Price Pittsburg U Jd is Jack s attorney.Aunt Lauren Bottaro Jack s legal guardian, widow , Mac Machowski fixer, retired homicide detective , all introduced their selves to each other Judge Kelly was presiding On the opposing side Brooks Latham Latham, Tanner McKee law firm attorney , Ed Mayer Latham, Tanner McKee law firm family law attorney Joseph Falzone billionaire patriarch, Jack s grandfather.Court adjourned for the day Joseph handed Lauren a card Ike Rossi s PI, security, Penn St chemical engineering, Pittsburgh PD, Point Park U MS CJ ,next stop was to see Robert Scott Seismic Services CEO owner, U of Texas, BA, MS, PhD.Confluence Assisted Living Homewood Ike went to visit with Ms Emma Sosso.West Penn Hospital, Phil Moretti The Farm trust fund, glass, oil business, former organized crime , Alfredo 58, Mexican immigrant, boxing trainer, Thor boxer , Vic Cassidy, Boys Girls Club Lawrenceville, William Archer chairman, Price Price law office Cranberry Township Ike Jenna Pittsburg U Panthers woman s basketball , Lauren were meeting with Edgar Ed Price Ike went to see Nick Falzone 42, oldest twin son.It was about Tom Cole s father, U of Texas, BA, MS, PhD death.What happened to Maria I did not receive any type of compensation for reading reviewing this book While I receive free books from publishers authors, I am under no obligation to write a positive review Only an honest one A very awesome book cover, great font writing style A very well written legal thriller book It was very easy for me to read follow from start finish never a dull moment There were no grammar typo errors, nor any repetitive or out of line sequence sentences Lots of exciting scenarios, with several twists turns a great set of unique characters to keep track of This could also make another great legal thriller movie, or better yet a mini TV series A very easy rating of 5 stars Thank you for the free author Telemachus PressDigital Services LLC book Tony Parsons MSW Washburn Many thanks to Reedsy Discovery for giving me a copy of this book Actual Rating 2.5 starsThis was a disappointing book I liked the thriller aspect and the mystery of what Nick Falzone was trying to hide, and how the pacing picked up towards the end However, I felt that some of the characters were unrealistic, the really minor romance aspect was predictable, and some of the twists at the end were really unbelievable.Ike Rossi is a former, yet still famous, quarterback who is currently a private investigator He also has a secret career as a formidable boxer I was a bit skeptical of Ike and never really warmed to him I liked his sister and Mac a little bit, but as the story continued, they became less involved in the story I felt like the fact that Ike is famous, and apparently one of the best PIs so much so that he frightens the Falzones , and also a tough unbeatable boxer was unnecessary It seemed kind of convenient for him to be this super hero guy who never backs down and always does what is right When he meets Jack, he has an internal battle because he wants to help him, but already has a prior contract But he ends up doing the right and honorable thing and helps Jack out.Jack was okay, I didn t really care about him, and I was a little annoyed by the fact that he is special and very smart His aunt, Lauren, really annoyed me She is demanding, rude, and I absolutely loathed her when she yelled at Ike for refusing to take the job, and when he left later on She had no right to do so, especially when he had a prior commitment, and it annoyed me that her self centered or well, it sfor Jack attitude, and little speech about real commitment was one of the reasons why Ike took the case I really hated her character The tiny romance aspect between Ike and Lauren did not help matters at all It could have been eliminated, and the story would have been fine.The Falzones were interesting, and I kind of liked Shannon The dynamics between the two halves of the family and the increasing tension added to the suspense and intrigue.The ending was okay, however, some of the twists thrown in did not make sense at all and they weren t fully explained The ending was going really great until those twists happened.In the end, this was a meh thriller with disappointing characters, and some unbelievable twists.Blog Goodreads Reedsy ^Download Kindle ☠ The Victim of the System ↟ Twenty Two Years Ago, Ike Rossi S Life Was Shattered When His Parents Were Murdered In Cold Blood He Surrendered His Football Scholarship And Returned Home To Find Their Killer And Raise His Nine Year Old Sister Now, The Crime Of A Local Ten Year Old Genius, Jack Cole, Threatens To Unearth Old Wounds Rather Than Provide The Closure Ike Desperately WantsWhen Ike Meets Jack Inside The Pittsburgh Courthouse, He Doesn T See A Murderer But Instead A Boy Who Has Been Victimized By A System That Has Left Them Both Without Justice Despite Knowing The Case Will Resurrect The Painful Demons Of His Parents Unsolved Murders, Ike Agrees To Clear Jack S Name The Court Of Public Opinion And The District Attorney Have An Airtight Case Worse, Taking Jack S Side Thrusts Ike Into The Crosshairs Of The Most Powerful Family In Pittsburgh, The FalzonesNow, With Only Days Before The Trial, Ike Confronts The Falzones Crumbling Empire To Find The Shocking Evidence That Could Save Jack At The Same Time, He Races To Decipher A Series Of Cryptic Clues From Jack S Dead Father That Could Hold The Key To His Son S Freedom But Each Step Closer To The Truth Draws Them Further Into Danger, And As Three Fractured Families Collide, Ike Is Forced To Choose Between Saving Jack And Saving HimselfThe Victim Of The System Is A Powerful And Entertaining Thriller About The Justice System, Closure And The Abyss Between Them