ARC AUDIO BOOK REVIEW: They Can't Take Your Name by Robert Justice


Publication Date: December 7, 2021
Format: Audio
Genre:  Crime Thriller
Narrators: JD Jackson

Publisher: Dreamscape Media     
7  hours 40 min
Buy: Kindle | Audio


Langston Brown is running out of time and options for clearing his name and escaping death row. Wrongfully convicted of the gruesome Mother's Day Massacre, he prepares to face his death. His final hope for salvation lies with his daughter, Liza, an artist who dreamed of a life of music and song but left the prestigious Juilliard School to pursue a law degree with the intention of clearing her father's name. Just as she nears success, it's announced that Langston will be put to death in thirty days.

In a desperate bid to find freedom for her father, Liza enlists the help of Eli Stone, a jazz-club owner she met at the classic Five Points venue, The Roz. Devastated by the tragic loss of his wife, Eli is trying to find solace by reviving the club… while also wrestling with the longing to join her in death.

Everyone has a dream that might come true—but as the dark shadows of the past converge, could Langston, Eli, and Liza be facing a danger that could shatter those dreams forever?

Inspired by the atmospheric poetry of Langston Hughes and set in the heart of Denver's black community, this gripping crime novel pits three characters in a race against time to thwart a gross miscarriage of justice… with deadly consequences.


I received this book free from the publisher Dreamscape Media through in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was fabulous.  What an insightful and very relevant book for today.  Set in Denver's five point section it reminds you of the fabulous jazz players that began their careers there. This book is deep in black culture.  From the music, to the poetry to the injustice.  

I loved Eli.  His character is tortured and vulnerable yet with a compassionate need to do the right thing. Ever since he witnessed his beloved mentor and priest murdered Eli has been terrified that the perpetrator knew he was there and would come for him.  He has lived his life looking over his shoulder, having panic attacks and living in an underground bunker.  With his wife dead he struggles to live day to day but something about Liza and her passion lights him up.  

Liza is a single mother whose father Langston Brown is slated to be executed for the mothers day massacre even though he had an alibi and even the witnesses said the culprit was white.  She was just a child then but has gone to law school in order to get her dad off death row but she is running out of time.  When she stumbles into Eli's club for a drink she finds much more. An ally, a friend, and someone who can give her a venue to pursue her other passion, singing. 

This is a complicated but all too common story.  White man is charged with the massacre and is let go, Black man then gets charged with the same crime even though he has an alibi and he is convicted and sentenced to die.  The cop who finally "caught" Langston Brown is the same cop that Eli saw in the confessional right before his mentor was murdered.  Eli heard him confess to setting someone up for a crime they didn't commit.  

With interesting commentary on race, race relations and the justice system this book kept me riveted. If there was ever a book that really shows how flawed the justice system is and why we should abolish the death penalty this is it. I found myself savoring the words, enjoying the lyrical prose and really becoming engaged in the emotion of what was going on.  Black Lives Matter and this book really gets to the matter of why that slogan and movement came to be. The narrator was fantastic, I can't say enough about this book. 


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