Andie DeGrasse, an aspiring actress and single mom, is not your typical juror. Hoping to get dismissed from the pool, she tells the judge that most of her legal knowledge comes from a bit part curling around a stripper's pole in The Sopranos. But she still ends up as juror #11 in a landmark trial against a notorious mob boss.
THE JUDGE IS TERRIFIED OF THE DEFENDANT.
The case quickly becomes the new Trial of the Century. Mafia don Dominic Cavello, known as the Electrician, is linked to hundreds of gruesome, unspeakable crimes. Senior FBI agent Nick Pellisante has been tracking him for years. He knows Cavello's power reaches far beyond the courtroom, but the FBI's evidence against the ruthless killer is iron-clad. Conviction is a sure thing.
SO IS THE JURY.
As the jury is about to reach a verdict, the Electrician makes one devastating move that no one could have predicted. The entire nation is reeling, and Andie's world is shattered. For her, the hunt for the Electrician becomes personal, and she and Pellisante come together in an unbreakable bond: they will exact justice-at any cost.
THE VERDICT: RUN FOR YOUR LIFE.
James Patterson spins an all-out heart-pounding legal thriller that pits two people against the most vicious and powerful mobster since John Gotti. Judge & Jury is a stunning feat by "one of America's most influential authors" (New York Times).
New York City. Four months later.
ALL ANDIE DEGRASSE KNEW was that the large, wood-paneled room was crowded as shit—with lawyers, marshals, reporters—and that she’d never been anywhere she wanted to get the hell out of more.
But it was the same for the other fifty-odd people in the jury pool, Andie was quite sure.
Jury duty—those words were like influenza to her. Cold sore. She had been told to report at 9:00 a.m. to the federal courthouse in Foley Square. There she filled out the forms, polished her excuses, and killed an hour leafing through Parenting magazine.
Then, at about eleven thirty, her name was called by a bailiff, and she was herded into a line of other unfortunate people with unsure, disappointed faces and up to the large courtroom on the seventh floor.
She looked around, trying to size up the rest of the fidgeting, kibitzing group squeezed into the bull pen. This was definitely not where she wanted to be.
The scene was like a snapshot taken on the number 4 Lexington Avenue train. People in work uniforms—electricians, mechanics—blacks, Hispanics, a Hasid in a skullcap, each trying to convince the person on either side that he or she didn’t belong there. A couple of well-to-do types in business suits were punching their BlackBerries, demonstrating in the clearest possible way that they had something far more important to do with their time.
Those were the ones Andie had to worry about, and she regarded them warily—the prospective jurors who had their time-tested, A-number-1 alibis honed and ready to go. Bosses’ letters. Partners’ meetings. Travel schedules, deals going down. A cruise to Bermuda that was already fully paid.
Of course, Andie hadn’t exactly come empty-handed.
She had put on her tight red T-shirt with the words DO NOT DISTURB emblazoned across the chest. It was the tackiest thing she owned, but we weren’t talking fashionista here.
We were talking adios—excused. Even if it was on the grounds of being thought an airhead or a bimbo.
Then there was the single-mother thing. That was legit. Jarrod was nine, and he was her best buddy as well as her biggest handful these days. Who would pick him up from school, answer his questions, help him with his homework, if she couldn’t be there for him?
Finally, there were her auditions. Her agent at William Morris had scheduled two for this week alone.
To amuse herself, Andie counted the faces of people who looked intelligent and open-minded and didn’t seem to be conveying they had somewhere else to go. She stopped when she got to twenty. That felt good. They only needed twelve, right?
Next to her, a heavyset Hispanic woman knitting a pink baby’s sweater leaned over. “Sorry, but jou know what kinda trial dis is?”
“No.” Andie shrugged, glancing around at the security. “But from the looks of it, it’s something big. You see those guys? They’re reporters. And did you notice the barricades outside and those cops milling around? More uniforms in this place than in an NYPD Blue wardrobe closet.”
The woman smiled. “Rosella,” she said amiably.
“I’m Andie,” Andie said, extending her hand.
“So, Andie, how jou get on dis jury, anyway, jou know?”
Andie squinted at her as if she hadn’t heard right. “You want to get picked?”
“Sure. My huzban say you get forty dollars a day, plus train fare. The woman I work for, she pay me whichever way. So why not take the cash?”
Andie smiled and shrugged wistfully. “Why not?”
The judge’s clerk came in, a woman with black glasses and a pinched, officious face, like an old-time schoolmarm. “All rise for Judge Miriam Seiderman.”
Everyone pushed themselves out of their seats.
“So, Rosella, you want to know how to get on this thing?” Andie leaned over and whispered to her neighbor as an attractive woman of around fifty, with touches of gray in her hair, entered the courtroom and stepped up to the bench.
“Just watch.” Andie nudged her. “Whatever I do, do the opposite.”
Copyright © 2006 by James Patterson
Joe Mantegna won a Tony for his portrayal of Richard Roma in David Mamet's Glengarry Glen Ross. Selected film credits include Bugsy, Searching for Bobby Fischer, and The Godfather III.
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