"That's what the criminal law is: it's how the day tries to correct the night's mistakes. Most of my cases, people have done something they never would've dreamed of doing in broad daylight."
"What does that make us?" I said. "The night's janitors?"
"We're absolutely that," Myra said, sipping her cosmo. "What else do we do but clean up after it? That's why we'll never run out of work. Not unless someone invents a cure for night.
In Brooklyn's criminal courts, justice often depends on who has the better story to tell.
After a drug-related scandal ejects Joel Deveraux from his job at a white-shoe law firm, he slides down the corporate ladder to the Public Defenders' office in Brooklyn, where he defends the innocent and the guilty alike, a cog in the great clanking machine that is the New York City justice system. When his boss offers him the second chair to the savvy Myra Goldstein in a high-profile murder case, he eagerly takes it. The defendant is Lorenzo Tate, a black pot dealer from the projects who is charged with the murder of a white college student in a street shooting; and the tabloids have sunk their teeth into the racially tinged trial.
In this twisty and overwhelmingly authentic journey through the real Brooklyn, Justin Peacock paints a portrait of the law as a form of combat where the best story wins--but who's telling the truth and who's lying are matters of interpretation. And of life and death.
This compelling debut novel announces Justin Peacock as a writer who enters the territory of Richard Price and Scott Turow with a fresh new take on urban crime and punishment.
A deeply flawed--and endearing--protagonist powers Peacock's impressive debut. Joel Deveraux, once an up-and-coming corporate litigator at one of New York City's most prestigious law firms, resigned in disgrace after a paralegal working on one of his cases died from a heroin overdose. Joel later tries to resurrect himself personally and professionally by becoming a public defender in Brooklyn. But when he's asked to help enigmatic lawyer Myra Goldstein with a high profile case involving the shooting death of a white college student gunned down in the projects, Joel is forced to revisit some of the same issues that almost ruined him years earlier. Peacock's intimate knowledge of the courtroom and carefully crafted prose aside, the gritty realism, intense emotional intimacy and socially relevant subject matter--racism, America's war on drugs, the corporate culture of drug dealers--make this a deeply thought-provoking read in a genre that can be anything but. (Sept.)
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September 01, 2008
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