JUSTICE ASCENDING - Rebecca Zanetti
Scorpius Syndrome , Book 3
Zebra Books
ISBN: 978-1-4201-3798-9
February 2017
Paranormal Romantic Suspense

Vanguard Territory (formerly East Los Angeles, California) post Apocalypse

Before Scorpius, Tace Justice was a medic in the army, intending to follow family tradition and go into law enforcement after leaving the service.  But when the Scorpius bacterium swept the world, wiping out 99% of the population, priorities changed, and Tace became a soldier as well as medic for Vanguard.  Up until a few weeks ago, Tace was one of the lucky ones who hadn't been infected, and now that he has, it's looking as if he'll be one of the survivors that become sociopaths.  The OCD he'd developed was something he could deal with, but Tace no longer feels emotion, and lately he's been feeling numbness in his extremities.  He figures it's only a matter of time before the darkness takes him for good, so, all the more reason to stay away from Sami Steel.

Raised by a father who owned a karate studio and an uncle who taught street fighters, Sami Steel is one of the most accomplished fighters at Vanguard.  When she first arrived in the neighborhood that Jax Mercury claimed as a haven for survivors, Sami told him that she was former LAPD, but now that she's become a trusted member of the inner circle, Sami is very worried about what will happen when Vanguard learns of her lies.  She's also been a bit worried lately about the attraction she feels for Tace.  While on a reconnaissance mission, Sami agrees that one night with Tace can't hurt, yet when his unusual symptoms become apparent to everyone, Sami knows her feelings for Tace are stronger than she wants to admit.  She also realizes that the time for keeping secrets is over.

JUSTICE ASCENDING continues the tale of post-Scorpius California and those just fighting to survive.  The bacterium spread quickly, and of the infected who survived, some have returned mostly to normal, but others have basically become sociopaths.  Vanguard recently battled with the Mercenaries a group of soldiers located in Santa Barbara while trying to rescue Maureen, the kidnapped sister of Raze.  When the President and his Elite Forces tried to take Maureen and recapture Vinnie (Dr. Vivienne Wellington), Vanguard helped the Mercenaries and saved both women.  The Mercenaries have access to food production resources as well as medicine and Vitamin B, which is the only thing that makes a difference in fighting Scorpius.  Vanguard is debating between raiding the Mercenaries and forming an alliance, and Tace and Sami are tasked with gathering information.  They've been friends and partners for months, yet lately there's a simmering attraction between them that both are struggling to ignore.  The OCD that is new to Tace has suddenly transferred most of his focus to Sami, and ignoring her becomes impossible.

JUSTICE ASCENDING, the third full-length novel in the Scorpius Syndrome series, is probably not the book you want to start with in the series; too much has gone on so far that you really need to know.  Rebecca Zanetti has created a fascinating if scary world and filled it with tough people willing to do whatever it takes to survive and who haven't yet lost their hope for a future.  The chemistry between Sami and Tace is electric, and the sense of family in Vanguard is both emotional, and occasionally the provider of comic relief.  A compelling tale, you won't want to miss JUSTICE ASCENDING.

Jennifer Bishop