Category Archives: They Can’t Take Your Name

Review: They Can’t Take Your Name by Robert Justice

Title: They Can’t Take Your Name by Robert Justice
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Suspense
Length: 304 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Laced with atmospheric poetry and literature 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—and a crooked detective who wreaks havoc…with deadly consequences.

What happens to a deferred dream—especially when an innocent man’s life hangs in the balance? 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?


They Can’t Take Your Name by Robert Justice is an absolutely riveting novel with a socially relevant storyline.

Langston Brown is wrongfully convicted of murder and he is currently on death row. His daughter Liza is a single mother who is almost finished with law school. Having convinced her professor to begin an innocence project, there is one last hope to overturn his conviction. Liza’s attempts to prove his innocence take on a new urgency as the governor suddenly sets several execution dates that will occur very soon. Liza refuses to give up believing she can save her father, but will their court case receive a favorable ruling from the judge?

Eli Stone is re-opening an iconic bar in Denver’s Five Points community. He is realizing the dream he and his late wife Antoinette shared but Eli grief overshadows his success. Eli hires Liza to work for him and they strike up an unexpectedly close friendship. After she tells him about her father, Eli realizes he knows the detective who arrested Langston. He has first-hand information about Detective Sean Slager’s longtime corruption, but will this knowledge prove beneficial to proving Langston’s innocence?

They Can’t Take Your Name is a powerful novel about institutional racism and police corruption that happens under the guise of justice. The storyline is complex and multi-layered. The characters are mostly well-drawn with all too human flaws and weaknesses. Liza is tenacious in her efforts to save her father, but Langston knows the odds are stacked against him. Eli tries to do the right thing to help Liza but will he find what he needs to help Langston before it is too late? Robert Justice brings this incredibly suspenseful to an edge of the seat conclusion.

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Filed under Contemporary, Crooked Lane Books, Rated B+, Review, Robert Justice, Suspense, They Can't Take Your Name