Rating: 4 out of 5.

For four years Laura Coates worked as a federal prosecutor for the Department of Justice in the District of Columbia. During her tenure she witnessed instances that, while perhaps legally right, were not just. Throughout a series of sixteen essays Ms. Coates describes cases that she handled, or witnessed, that involved black and brown defendants policed, prosecuted and judged differently than white defendants.

She writes about a defendant caught up in the system that had been misidentified and seemingly no one wanting to take the time to listen to the defendant’s assurances that he was not the wanted person. She talks about harsh consequences of ICE detentions that split families apart long before the “crisis at the border”. Ms. Coates describes her efforts to intervene whenever possible, although her abilities were often hindered by her limited power and government bureaucracy.

As a former prosecuting attorney, I could relate to many of Ms. Coates essays. I appreciate her frustration in wanting to serve her community in a fair manner, and yet being stymied by prejudice, indifference and red tape. Books like this that provide an insider’s perspective of what works, and what doesn’t, helps check our judicial system – if even just a little bit.

This book is well written and is so engaging that the pages fly by. Even people that aren’t huge fans of essays or nonfiction will enjoy reading this book. I highly recommend you read it.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley and Simon & Schuster. All opinions are my own.