Review by Andrea Maloney

Ron Shade, a Chicago based private investigator, doesn’t trust lawyers. Yet despite his misgivings he agrees to take the job offered by Rick Walters, an old friend, even though he’s a lawyer. Walters needs help doing the legwork for a wrongful death lawsuit. Shade then finds out that they are going up against Mason Gilbert, one of the most successful and distinguished lawyers in Chicago and Big John Flood, a very famous private investigator. Soon he feels like a novice who doesn’t stand a chance.
As if that wasn’t bad enough he finds out the trial is to take place in three weeks and he needs to gather all the evidence quickly. The first private investigator Rick Walters had hired committed suicide but Shade quickly comes to find out that all may not be what it seems.
Meanwhile he is asked by his former commanding officer, Bielmaster, to help keep a convicted criminal away from his daughter. Shade, out of guilt, reluctantly agrees because Bielmaster is undergoing major bypass surgery and is unable to do it himself. At the same time Bielmaster is offering Shade the chance to be reinstated into the police force if he helps him out. A chance Shade isn’t so sure he wants.

To top it off the opportunity Shade has been dreaming of suddenly comes along, a shot at the world heavyweight kickboxing championship. Soon he finds himself out manned, outgunned and facing the biggest challenges of his life. With the final outcome uncertain, Shade gives it his all and hopes that it will be enough.

The Final Judgment is an engrossing story on many fronts. Pulled in by a first rate mystery you will find yourself cheering for Shade as he goes up against the Goliath of the legal and investigative world grasping for clues that are as elusive as fairy dust. If you think you know what’s coming next stick around and be surprised for Black has written a story with enough twists and turns to keep you guessing until the very end.

Shade perseveres even though the odds are stacked against him. Black has written a likeable character in Ron Shade. Someone tough yet tender with his own code of ethics that keeps him moving in the right direction even when it’s not the easiest path to take.

The kickboxing aspect of the story was intriguing adding depth to the character of Shade. The heavyweight kickboxing championship scenes were believable written, dynamic and will have you standing and cheering as Ron Shade faces the fight of his life.

Michael A. Black knows of what he writes. He’s written an absorbing mystery with a fascinating look into the life of a kick boxer/private investigator as he faces the toughest challenges of his life.

Note: At the end of The Final Judgment Ron Shade meets up with Alex St. James , a character from a mystery series written by Julie Hyzy. Black and Hyzy are now working on a collaborative book featuring both of their characters.


Andrea Maloney is a stay at home mom and jewelry designer who loves to read. Her favorite books are mysteries, suspense and thrillers. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband, two daughters and one large cat.

Return to Fall 2006 Table of Contents

© 2006 SPINETINGLER Magazine - All rights reserved

Baby Love
If It Bleeds
Behind You!
No Help For The Dying
A Kind of Puritan
A Thankless Child
A Certain Malice