"A new approach to understanding the criminal justice system through the eyes of courtroom artists"– Kirkus Reviews
A new approach to understanding the criminal justice system through the eyes of courtroom artists.
The drawings and paintings that make up this collection, compiled by debut author Williams and Russell (Lethal Intent, 2013), are the work of courtroom artists, the only people able to capture images in the many courtrooms where video and photography aren’t permitted. Striking images accompany artists’ reminiscences of the trials they have covered. Many of the cases are explored in detail, and some are well-known—the O.J. Simpson trial, Iran-Contra, Martha Stewart’s insider trading. The collection also includes stories of memorable attorneys and defendants, along with representative images. The anecdotes shared by the artists range from the unexpected—e.g., an undercover detective attempted to bribe an artist to destroy a drawing that might reveal his identity—to the absurd—Judge John Sirica threatened to expel anyone chewing gum in his courtroom—to the touching, particularly the depictions and descriptions of witnesses delivering their testimonies through tears. The images included in this collection demonstrate that a charcoal or pen-and-ink drawing, while dependent on an artist’s style and unable to match the precision of a photograph, can be more effective in conveying the mood of a courtroom, as in a Howard Brodie sketch of the scene at the opening of the Watergate trial. A Bill Robles drawing of Patty Hearst’s father writing a $500,000 bail check tells a story in itself. When Aggie Kenny describes her experience covering the organized crime trials of the 1980s—“Few defendants interact with artists or really seem to care what we are doing. But I always sensed that mafia guys understood the process and saw it as part of the business”—it’s clear that courtroom artists provide an essential, often overlooked perspective on the justice system, one that is a crucial part of understanding the legal history of the United States.
Reveals one fascinating aspect of the legal system, informing the reader while demonstrating the value of artistic interpretation.
In Williams' debut novel, a 40-year-old woman desperately attempts to find her soul mate.
When Jane Parker receives a copy of Lonely No More: How to Meet Your Soulmate in Less Than a Year on her birthday, she launches her “Find a Man Before I’m Forty project.” She shares her home with a dachshund named Wanker, takes secret bass guitar lessons from a former member of the Spastic Colons, and has a busy career as a CPA—but all this isn’t enough for her. So Jane joins a singles bowling league, goes on many bad dates, and engages in disappointing sex. Like her literary predecessor Bridget Jones, she obsesses about her weight (“I’ve lost ten of the nineteen pounds I’d gained at the end of the summer but am still feeling fat and self-conscious”), experiences baby lust, and fears spinsterhood. At 40, the still-single Jane sets new standards for herself (“No more bars or meat raffles, or dating men who have the same ex-wife”) and takes out a personal ad. Just as she learns to accept singlehood, a partner at the accounting firm shoots her and a manager. Injured but undaunted, this crisis makes her realize she “will never chase men again.” As she contemplates having a baby on her own, a chance meeting with a policeman renews her faith in love. Williams excels at environmental descriptions and scene-setting, but her personal interactions can lack depth: “Our date starts out great; there’s chemistry between us. I love his accent and the way he talks adoringly about his two kids.” Her dialogue is consistently funny: “ ‘So you’re a loner with an alcohol problem who hates kids.’ ‘I’m not fond of animals, either.’ ” She also veers into either too much information territory or hilarity: “His penis was the size of my thumb. Beside his belly it looked like a pickle on a plate.”
An entertaining, if stereotypical, story of a single woman searching for a mate.