This may be a work of fiction but it is a real eye-opener when it comes to understanding the criminal justice system, at least in America. It doesn't actually matter if the person on trial is innocent or not, all that matters is - has the prosecution managed to stack up enough evidence and be convincing enough to prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the person is guilty ? Even if all the jurors believe that the suspect is guilty, they can't put forward a guilty verdict if the evidence isn't solid enough and they could still throw in a "yeah, but what if ...".
So on this basis, what we have in this novel is a huge cat-and-mouse game between two accomplished lawyers, Burke, prosecuting, and Jaywalker (real name Harrison J. Walker), defending, who are so good at running rings around each other that they could teach Tom and Jerry a thing or two ! Jaywalker openly admits for almost the entire novel that he doesn't know whether Samara, the "bilionheiress" accused of murdering her husband, really did it or not, so neither does the reader. The wall of evidence stacked up against her seems unsurmountable, but Jaywalker sets about bringing it down, brick by brick, even if it seems an impossible task even to himself.
We follow the trial with bated breath, not knowing until the very last minute what the outcome will be. And even when the outcome of the trial is known, we're still left hanging, unsure if that was the "right" result or not. It's a real pageturner and gives you some serious food for thought about the way the justice system works ! I'll definitely be looking out for the future Jaywalker novels to see what he gets up to next !
Mira (17 Jul 2009)
star rating : 5/5