THE JUROR by George Dawes Green


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 After a New York single mother declines to bail out of the jury for an accused mob killer, her son's life is threatened if she doesn't vote for acquittal. Sound familiar? It's the plot of the recent film Trial by Jury, of course, and the similarities keep rolling. The evil genius who threatens conceptual sculptor Annie Laird ends up falling for his victim, who feels as if they've been through something like marriage. Even after the acquittal he's forced her to swing, he won't let go of her. And since she can't believe the law is capable of helping her, she determines to take him down herself. This Svengali is called the Teacher. At least by some. It's only one of the many names adopted by the kingmaker known to his Mafia associates as Vincent. Annie knows him as art buyer Zach Lyde; girlfriend Sari Knowles, who gets suspicious of his late-night absences and sets an amusingly low-rent shamus on him, knows him as Eben Rackland; and Annie's best friend, Dr. Juliet Applegate, knows him as Ian Slate, her newest lover. Green (The Caveman's Valentine, 1994) does a fine job making you feel the slimy, suckery reach of this Tao-spouting octopus, and as long as he can keep the cast- -Annie, the Teacher, Sari and her shamus, the minor mafiosi- -plotting at cross-purposes, his juggling act is expert enough to make you laugh out loud. When weaker cast members begin to drop out, though, leaving only the Teacher and Annie, the thrills lose the edge they would've had if Green had made you believe his bogeyman were as real as Hannibal Lecter, his obvious model. Don't expect more than an updated damsel-in-distress thriller- -and maybe the birth of a new jury-tampering genre--and you won't be disappointed. (First printing of 200,000; film rights to Columbia Pictures; Literary Guild main selection)

Pub Date: Jan. 27th, 1995
ISBN: 0-446-51885-9
Page count: 432pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 1994


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