Ridge Writers on Books: ‘We, the Jury’

By Robert Rotstein, Black Stone Publishing, hardcover, 297 pgs., 2018, $24.99

Ridge Writers on Books: ‘We, the Jury’By DONNA MCCROHAN ROSENTHAL

The crime has unusual elements. Domestic abuse of a woman occurs painfully often. But in this instance, a husband has killed his wife and claims self-defense. His wife had a history of bullying him, demeaning him and even causing bodily harm. When she went too far, he retaliated. Now the case has commanded headlines.

Testimony concludes. The jury files into the deliberation room. The architect, the foreperson, the clergyman, the grandmother, the student, the jury consultant, the express messenger/actor and the housewife make their entrance. Bad coffee. Noisy heating. Everyone wants to wrap up in a hurry. They have different backgrounds, but almost unanimously concur on a verdict and expect to finish before dinner. Nonetheless, they review the evidence. “We, the Jury” picks up speed as new facets and the jurors’ personalities emerge.

Others, including the judge, the bailiff, the blogger, the courtroom clerk, the prosecutor, the paralegal and more, wait for the decision, inside and outside the building.

We discover all their troubled pasts, trains of thought¸ points of view, and perhaps a secret or two, from interwoven first-person narratives by each. The clergyman has a conflict that he chooses to not reveal. The judge finds her life almost unbearable since the death of her husband. The messenger/actor has an opinionated mother at home and issues with the grandmother, whom he knows from his high school days when she scared him witless as the principal. We follow the trial through their various personal accounts, along with official documents.

We piece the details together as best we can, hoping our calculations will match with those of the jurors and add up to justice. If you think, “I’ve seen ‘Twelve Angry Men,’ so I’ve worked it out,” don’t bet on it. Plot twists – and a thoroughly intelligent read – lie in store.

“We, the Jury” is a USA Today best seller and a Suspense Magazine Best Thriller of 2018. Author and attorney Robert Rotstein has also, with James Patterson, written “The Family Lawyer,” the title story of a New York Times best-selling collection.

He practices intellectual property law, and has represented all the major movie studios and record companies, as well as prominent directors and writers.

“We, the Jury” is available at Red Rock Books.

This monthly column is written by members of Ridge Writers, the East Sierra Branch of the California Writers Club. Meetings are held the first Thursday evening of each month at Ridgecrest Presbyterian Church and free programs are offered throughout the year.

Story First Published: 2019-04-19