Monday, October 13, 2008

Reading Journal: "Jury of One"

This courtroom drama by David Ellis kept me guessing right to the end. It used a writing technique that I don't ever remember seeing before. The prologue and one of the last chapters were virtually identical-word for word- except that in the latter the characters now had names and 1 1/2 extra pages revealed what I had been waiting the whole book to find out.

Shelly's client is a 17-year-old accused of killing a policeman, and she suspects that he may have been involved in an undercover operation to entrap dirty cops. In flashbacks, we learn that Shelly had been raped when she was 16, and in a shocking revelation, she learns that Alex is her son. Shelly has no experience in criminal court, but he refuses to have any other lawyer.

As she delves deeper into the case, she begins to fear that he is lying to her to protect his best friend, but he is adamant that Ronnie had nothing to do with what happened. In open court, and under oath, Ronnie makes an accusation that literally causes Shelly to faint.

Even after this bombshell which caught me completely by surprise, that latter chapter was necessary to clear up all the questions. This was a well-crafted, thoroughly satisfying novel, where I cared about the characters and found myself silently pleading with the author to make it turn out well.

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