Judge & Jury by James Patterson and Andrew Gross

March 20, 2012

Plot summary (from the publisher):From #1 bestselling author James Patterson comes the ultimate legal thriller where the judge and jury are terrified. The verdict: run for your life. Failing to escape jury duty, aspiring actress Andie DeGrasse ends up as Juror #11 in a landmark case. In this new Trial of the Century, a Mafia don known as the Electrician is linked to hundreds of gruesome crimes. Tracking this ruthless killer for years, senior FBI agent Nick Pellisante fears that the defendant’s power reaches far beyond the courtroom, even if the FBI’s evidence is ironclad. Just as the jury finishes deliberations, the Electrician makes a devastating move that shocks the entire nation – and shatters Andie’s world. Now she and Pellisante must hunt for the Electrician before he executes his most horrifying endgame.

Warning: Spoilers below!

Liked:

  • This was a fast read with more than 100 very short chapters. It was easy to pick the thing up for a few minutes while lounging around in my Cherokee scrubs after work and finish it within a reasonable amount of time.
  • Some of the mafia nicknames were funny. I liked “Nicky Smiles”, too, but was hoping there would end up being a deeper reason for the name, such as an underground connection with Cavello.
  • I liked that Nicky had Andie practice how to use a knife to kill someone. That’s something that you don’t ordinarily see in this type of book, but it made a lot more sense than having her go in there as if she already knows how to kill.

Disliked:

  • Once the original jury was seated, the plot became utterly ridiculous. I don’t even know where to start when recounting all the dumb things that occurred.
  • I don’t buy for one second that Andie would be useful in tracking down professional hitmen and mafia bosses. She was an actress, for god’s sake, not a police officer. I can’t stand it when regular people end up being able to outmaneuver professionals at their own game (in this case, killing).
  • Were the authors watching a bad horror movie when writing this? It sure seemed so because each bad guy had that cliche horror movie ability of surviving lots of bullets, long falls, and even vehicle impacts without slowing down very much. Listen up: that kind of b.s. doesn’t make the scene more suspenseful. It makes readers roll their eyes!
  • Why would Nick and Andie just believe that the hitman would tell them the truth about where Cavello was. The hitman could have given ANY answer at all; Nicky and Andie just handed the guy’s son back with absolutely no way to verify that he was telling the truth. Since giving up a client was such a big no-no with Nordeshenko, I was stunned that he passed on legit info.
  • Just to make sure readers understood what a “bad man” Cavello was, the authors had him rape an underage girl and shoot a dog because he was bored while in hiding at his “end of the Earth” ranch. This was on top of blowing up a bus full of people, including Andie’s child. Whatever. We understood that without the gratuitous violence.
  • I was waiting for a twist at the end, but none came. For example, I thought for sure Cavello would recognize Andie from the jury because of her affinity for t-shirts with slogans on them. What did she wear at jury selection? “Do Not Disturb”? And then she pops up for her date with Cavello in a shirt that says “Ball Buster”? Oh, good lord.
  • There was not a single likable or interesting character in the book. They were all annoying and one-dimensional, and all their actions were fairly predictable. Boring!
  • There were a few things in here that made me check the publication date to verify that it was indeed published relatively recently (2006). For instance, Cavello’s thugs put an evening edition newspaper in the judge’s bedroom. Wait, what??? Newspapers are barely staying afloat. Do you mean to tell me that evening editions were still around in 2006? I guess I’ll have to take the author’s word for it, but that part still took me out of the story for a bit.

Rating:

I know it’s my own fault for continuing to read Patterson’s co-authored stuff even though I know it’s crap, but these are the types of books that my library has in abundance. This subpar effort reinforced my opinion that Patterson’s work is in a downward spiral. I give Judge & Jury 2 stars out of 5.

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