With the assistance of a meticulous and calculating chief of staff, Caleb, Joseph Annan has spent years choreographing his career. He concluded his stint as the Chief Justice on a high note. He is well respected and revered for his commitment to his family, his country and God. So, when he announces his candidature for the President of Ghana, it is expected that it is for him to lose. For Caleb, it is a rare privilege to run a campaign for a candidate who is intelligent, powerful, wealthy, charismatic, religious and faithful to his wife. But the meticulously planned and timed announcement unleashes an unexpected trail of events around The Justice (Joseph Annan).
In this potent intersection of politics, money and sex, Glover demonstrates a deep disdain for politicians. She crushes my hopes for any possibility of an ethical politician (in Africa). Instead, she reinforces the reality of politicians who are inherently driven by greed and self-interest, therefore bound to disappoint on all levels. But she also reminds us of the consistent involvement of multinationals in African corruption scandals.
The book also raises fundamental questions about the assumed unity in the African family. It is almost as if all families are built on some deep dark secret, which invariably involves protecting men. In the Annan family the protection of the family secret is crucial to the rise of The Justice to the highest office. He has to be presented as a family man, who is faithful to his wife and family, even if at the expense of his only daughter, Abby.
Glover raises the stakes in this storyline through a network of love triangles. So, in as much as this is a political thriller, it is also about passionate love that devours both the lover and the loved. It is these love triangles that thicken the storyline and present risks to The Justice’s journey to the high office. Abby’s relationship with Reyn (a married MD of Proctol) and with Caleb (her father’s chief of staff) has the potential to compromise The Justice’s candidature. The Justice’s relationship with twin sisters punches a big hole in his carefully choreographed value systems.
But I found Glover’s presentation of her women characters somewhat problematic. Abby is a political risk to The Justice. As Caleb laments, “Abby was always going to be the end of him (The Justice)”. And she also wrecks Reyn’s marriage. Reyn’s wife, on the other hand is presented as a “barbie doll”. The Justice’s wife is presented as a cunning plotter who has become unstable, and therefore also a political risk. Receptionists at Proctol are cheap “bed warmers”. And Cat, an exchange student, is a cunning spy who is bought in to poison Caleb. Although all these women characters are compelling, they disappointingly locate women in stereotypical positions.
The Justice is a long novel (390 pages). But the exciting and intriguing plot will keep you engaged until the end. It has all the elements of a thriller; suspense, surprise, anticipation and anxiety. Nothing ends up being what it seemed to be at the beginning of the book! Glover succeeds in presenting complex and compelling characters that you are bound to simultaneously love and hate passionately. I could not work out whether Abby was a spoilt brat or a wounded soul; whether Caleb was a hero or villain; whether Reyn was a selfish bastard or just hopelessly in love. These characters just left me in serious emotional turmoil.
I recommend the book for those looking for an adrenalin kick!