Books & Magazines


Judge & Jury by James Patterson

Pros: thrilling and exciting
Cons: premise quite unrealistic

Judge & Jury by James Patterson and Andrew Gross is the stuff that makes for nightmares in our legal system.  A high-powered mob boss is coming up for trial.  His crimes are numerous and horrific, and there’s a mountain of evidence against him.  Conviction should be a slam dunk.  Just pick 12 jurors and you’re all set.
And therein lies the problem.  12 jurors stand in the way of the mob boss’s freedom.  And if you think he’s going to let that just happen without fighting back, you haven’t read a book or seen a movie that deals with juries and the potential for manipulation.
So we have single Mom Andie who finds herself on the jury.  Sweet Andie and her adorable kid.  What happens to them?  Well, I’m not going to spoil the book for you, but it is the stuff of horror movies.  Let’s just say you shouldn’t read this book while you’re in a jury pool

Like all Patterson books, chapters are short, and the action moves swiftly.  I would even say that the book was hard to put down, as I flipped pages quickly to find out what would happen next.
But upon completion, I’m left with an unsatisfied feeling.  Why?  Because I just don’t buy the whole thing.  I accept that someone can bypass all security measures and get information on the jurors.  I even accept that someone in jail can have far-reaching buddies who act on their behalf.
But the acts that were taken in Judge & Jury just don’t make sense.  I can’t think of a hundred ways to manipulate a jury decision.  Heck, just watch one of the many movies about the subject and you’ll see a bunch of ways.  But what took place in this book wouldn’t really sway a jury.  It’ll cause a mistrial.  It’ll delay things for quite a while.  But I wouldn’t call it a brilliant way to manipulate.  Granted, we have horrible actions, pure evil, all the stuff that makes for a good thriller.  But as for realistic jury manipulation – No.

So, enjoy Judge & Jury for what it is – a fun thriller that had me flying through the pages. But don’t look for realism here or greatnesss – neither is present.
Also by James Patterson:
Four Blind Mice
Kill Me If You Can