top of page


by J D Trafford

A broken city, a missing young man, and a lawyer searching for truth when nobody else cares.


Attorney Justin Glass’s practice, housed in a shabby office on the north side of Saint Louis, isn’t doing so well that he can afford to work for free. But when eight-year-old Tanisha Walker offers him a jar full of change to find her missing brother, he doesn’t have the heart to turn her away.

Justin had hoped to find the boy alive and well. But all that was found of Devon Walker was his brutally murdered body—and the bodies of twelve other African American teenagers, all discarded like trash in a mass grave. Each had been reported missing. And none had been investigated.

As simmering racial tensions explode into violence, Justin finds himself caught in the tide. And as he gives voice to the discontent plaguing the city’s forgotten and ignored, he vows to search for the killer who preys upon them.


Eight-year-old Tanisha Walker enters the shabby office of street-lawyer Justin Glass. She is holding a half-full jar of coins, with CUSS JAR on the side. Tanisha needs answers to the whereabouts of her missing brother and Justin is her only hope. It seems the police are not bothered so maybe a black defence lawyer will help?


Justin has his own legal practice, with the emphasis on ‘own’. With no staff and a load of bills to pay he can’t afford to turn down work, but $10 cases like this aren’t going to help fix the air-con or repair his old Honda Civic. Only he can't say no, can he.


His office is in the north area of Saint Louis, a city build for one million people, with a population of less than a third of that. It’s the Rust Belt. It’s hot and tensions are rising.


Justin does have his ‘Glass’ name to fall back on but he’d rather not involve his family or seek any favours from them. The Glass family has much power and influence in the city. Arthur Glass is considered a hero having fought in 1960’s civil rights movement and gone on to serve many years as a U.S. congressman. Politics is very much the family business. Arthur is ready to retire and wants his legacy to be taken on by his son. But whilst Justin’s younger brother is ambitious, he’s not ready to campaign. Justin is battling with dark thoughts after his wife (the mother of their child) died.


Back to the missing boy. Devon Walker is 16. He’d been in and out of juvie, with a history of criminal offenses. This isn’t going to be easy but Justin told young Tanisha he’d help. She’s a similar age to his own daughter, Sammy. Sammy is having a tough time at school. Bullied for ‘acting white’. Justin takes her to work with him, to the courthouse where he takes on the defence of a Mr Bates whilst also continuing to look at a few leads into the missing 16 year old. Then Justin finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Officers beat and cuff him. He’s lucky not to have been shot dead.


The news reaches his powerful father but politics is a strategic game. They have to be careful not to make it look as though they are exploiting the situation. Racism is rife in St. Louis. The situation could explode at any time and it is just about to:

Bodies are found buried in a grave. Teenagers. Suddenly parents are claiming that their sons are missing, and that the cops have done nothing about it. They no longer trust the police. Justin however, might be the one to help.


With institutionalised racism and corruption all around him, Justin must use everything at his disposal to bring justice to these murdered kids whilst saving St. Louis in the process.


This is a tense and punchy legal thriller with a great lead, a visceral setting and a compelling plot.

About J D Trafford:

J.D. Trafford is an award-winning author who has been profiled in Mystery Scene Magazine (a "writer of merit"). His debut novel was selected as an IndieReader bestselling pick, and his books have topped Amazon's bestseller lists, including Amazon's #1 Legal Thriller.

In addition to graduating with honours from a Top 20 law school, J.D. Trafford has worked as a civil and criminal prosecutor, an associate at a large national law firm, and a non-profit attorney for people who could not afford legal representation.

​Prior to law school, J.D. Trafford worked in Washington D.C. and lived in Saint Louis, Missouri. He worked on issues of housing, education, and poverty in communities of color.

​He now lives with his wife and children in the Midwest, and bikes whenever possible.


Get the latest news at

bottom of page