© 2006 James Patterson
Neil Pellisante is a star witness in the sweetest trial of his life. For years, he hunted the powerful and cruel mobster Dominic Cavella, pouncing on the monstrous mafioso when Cavella dared to appear at his niece's wedding. The case against him is ironclad. The great cat and mouse game is over -- well, not quite. Cavella may be behind bars, but he has the money to buy ample force, and the audacity to use it in direct assaults on courtrooms and juries. As the bodycount rises, Pellisante's frustration rises -- but if he can't take down Pellisante inside the courtroom, maybe there are ways to take of the problem outside it. Thus begins a novel of malice, loss, and revenge spanning multiple continents.
I've never read James Patterson before, though his name comes up along with other pop-fiction authors like John Grisham. I think that comparison is unfair, given that Grisham's thrillers often have a point or issue to confront the reader with. Judge & Jury is something like a Walker, Texas Ranger episode. The bad guy is Very Bad, completely irredeemable -- a man who burns babies to torture their relatives. Thus, I didn't mind if Pellisante went outside the law to take him down. Pellisante and a surviving juror make for sympathetic characters, especially as they try to toe the line between justice and vengeance. The story's resolution fulfills the theme. I generally enjoyed Judge & Jury, though it's more light reading than anything else. I don't know how the publishers justify charging $35.00 for it, though!