A Jury of Her Peers
In this electrifying legal thriller, public defender Sybylla Muldoon unwittingly encounters a massive and malignant conspiracy when her client, a homeless man, is accused of stabbing a child on a New York street. With its timely, terrifying premise and its strong, engaging female protagonist, this novel breaks breaks fresh ground in the area of fictional law.
This fast-moving legal thriller, an accomplished first novel, follows New York City Legal Aid lawyer Sybylla Muldoon as she prepares to defend a once-gentle homeless man named Trent who has been arrested for the brutal stabbing of an Upper East Side schoolgirl. Initially, Trent manifests classic signs of schizophrenia, but he soon becomes coherent and, while intimating a tale of abduction, refuses to speak more fully until his trial.
As Koreliltz traces Sybylla's approach to this high-profile case, she reveals the day-to-day workings of modern justice as played out in New York City's crowded courtrooms at 100 Centre Street. Utterly commited to her clients, Sybylla, a postfeminist Nancy Drew, exhibits a thinking woman's appeal that is heightened by both her difficult relationship with her father, a noted right-leaning jurist who may soon become a Supreme Court nominee, and a developing romantic interest. Although the plot, featuring murder, conspiracy, politics and the perversion of justice, moves into Robin Cook territory for a time, Korelitz's convincing characterization, vigorous prose and rapid-fire pacing deliver thoughtful entertainment along with the promised thrills.