Small Town Sheriff Buries the Hatchet in Jay Crownover’s ‘Justified’ [REVIEW]

Texas oil well

In Justified, Jay Crownover transports us to a small Texas town where danger threatens to erupt but the local sheriff is determined to succeed. (Photo courtesy Canva.)

A rugged sheriff. His sworn enemy. When explosive secrets from the past resurface, will he do his job regardless of the cost? Find out in Jay Crownover’s new romantic thriller, Justified.

Jay Crownover's JUSTIFIED


Case Lawton may be the hunky sheriff of Loveless, Texas, but he also comes from a family of outlaws, a fact which makes him extra cautious in his work and determined to do everything by the book. But when he’s called to a lawyer’s office after a so-called break-in, he finds himself put into a difficult situation: he has to protect the very woman who cost him custody of his son. The funny thing about time, though. It makes a man see old situations with fresh eyes, and this time he doesn’t see her as the heartless lawyer he remembers and he suddenly begins to wonder if he had her pegged correctly after all.

Aspen Barlow is terrified, enough so that she turns to Case for help. To win him to her side, however, she has to open up and reveal a painful truth she’s kept secret all these years. Now they must learn to trust each other if they are to work side-by-side to catch a dangerous criminal. As threats escalate, they both discover that the line between love and hate is thin indeed, and Case will go to any length to keep his former enemy safe from harm.

In Justified, Crownover reminds us that we can’t always rely on our memories of the past, especially when we initially saw situations through the eyes of youth. For Case Lawton, he allowed a court-ordered decision to affect him and Aspen adversely, content as he was to pin the blame solely on her.

We often hear that communication is key, and that if we would only express ourselves effectively tensions would not escalate much of the time. However, when you’re in a situation like Case’s, it can be hard to separate fact from feeling. Crownover pens the sheriff’s thoughts and emotions with such lucidity and conviction, I was easily transported into his mind and felt all of his sentiments clearly, a fact which brought the story to vivid life.

This book also reminds us that sometimes we think we understand another’s motives based on their actions, only to discover in the end that we do not always have all the facts at the time events unfold. As I read, I made assumptions which were later proven incorrect. As Case discovers, it takes admission of error and faulty thinking to make better decisions moving forward and to draw other people closer to you. It is a hard-won lesson many of us take years to learn, and the author delves into this topic with vigor and heart. As such it makes for a warm, insightful novel filled with emotion, danger, and sweet romance. The next time you plan a trip, do yourself a favor and put a copy of Justified into your carry on.

This edition includes the bonus novella It’s All About That Cowboy by Carly Bloom.

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Jay Crownover

Jay Crownover
(Photo by Regina Wamba)


Jay Crownover is the international, New York Times, and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, the Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books have been translated in many different languages all around the world.

She is a tattooed, crazy-haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays.

Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.

To learn more, visit her online at, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

By Jay Crownover
432 pp. Forever. $7.99

Purchase Justified at one of these fine online retailers: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, Half Price Books, IndieBound, and Powell’s.

About Heather Fink
Heather Fink is a writer, bibliophile and award-winning librarian who loves to introduce the next generation of readers to the wonderful world of books. She currently resides in Texas.

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