Relative Jusice – Robert Whitlow

Relative Justice by Robert Whitlow
Also by this author: Trial and Error, Trial and Error, Double Indemnity
Published by Thomas Nelson on April 12, 2022
Genres: Fiction, Christian
Buy on Amazon

For the attorneys at Cobb and Cobb, the pursuit of justice is about more than legal expertise; it’s a family matter.
David Cobb is not a typical lawyer—he’s more interested in dispensing God’s wisdom than pertinent legal advice. High-stakes litigation is way outside his comfort zone.
For many years Zeke Caldwell has been concocting home remedies made from natural ingredients found in the coastal marshes near Wilmington, North Carolina. One of his remedies proved so effective that he patented it with the help of David’s father. Now, he suspects a big drug company has stolen his formula. What he doesn’t know is that the theft has deeper, more evil roots.
When Zeke asks David to help fight the drug company, David knows this is beyond his expertise and experience. But there’s another legal mind in the family. David’s sister-in-law, Katelyn Cobb, is a rising star attorney in a prestigious Washington, DC, law firm. The courtroom is her second home. Could she help? Would she even consider it?
Life’s circumstances compel the lawyers to face, not only patent piracy, but personal obstacles and struggles that threaten to rip apart the fabric of the family. The fight for Zeke requires all the relatives to unite—for justice.

Robert Whitlow has been and always will be one of my favorite authors.  While his books are rarely suspenseful, his plotlines are exceptional, and his characters are fantastically thought-out and well-written.  That being said, however, Relative Justice missed the mark for me this time around.  I liked the characters.  The plot was interesting enough, but overall, the book was anticlimactic.  Do I regret reading it? Absolutely not. But I just think Relative Justice by Robert Whitlow could have been better.

Zeke Caldwell enlists David and Carter Cobb’s law firm to help him fight a big drug company who he believes has stolen his formula.  After Carter, David’s father, suffers a health incident, David finds himself short-staffed.  Enter Katelyn, his sister-in-law.  An attorney at a well-respected law firm, she has the experience that Caldwell needs to stand up to the drug company.  The story unfolds slowly, with subplots that turn David and his wife—and Katelyn and her husband—into people versus simple characters on a page.  This added elements that Relative Justice needed.  The faith element, too, so common in Whitlow books, flows into the author’s tale seamlessly…though I will be honest and say that I don’t think every Christian book needs the gospel intertwined into it.

Many Christian novels I read don’t have it, so I do appreciate that about Whitlow. But I read Trial and Error at the beginning of 2021, and it had many of the same underlying themes.  Though the cases were completely different, God still prevails and moves in the characters’ lives.  Furthermore, Whitlow exemplifies that you don’t have to preach the gospel to exemplify Christ, and God doesn’t always work in miracles.  He speaks in small ways, through presses on the heart and through a still, small voice.

I did not find Relative Justice by Robert Whitlow at all compelling. It was not exciting.  I didn’t sense any form of urgency—which may be true to court cases, but it does not always make for a good story. The book focused more on Katelyn and her family adjusting to a new form of life, and the case with Zeke was more secondary.  The major “conflict” ended up being not much of a conflict, and the whole book ended with an anticlimactic…flop.  It was a good conclusion—a resolution to the whole affair, but I wanted so much more.

There is no doubt about it: Robert Whitlow is a very talented author, and most of his books are enjoyable to read.  Relative Justice is, too.  But if you’re looking for a legal thriller, this isn’t it.