I too can be JUdge & Jury: As an absolute rule I stay away from novels, mystery or otherwise, written by a famous writer and some guy I have never heard of. This because I have been seriously burned in the past and came to the conclusion, rightly or wrongly, that the real author of the mystery (or other kind of novel) in question was the second banana and the name writer just got a few bucks to add his name and, maybe, change a paragraph or two. Good thing I got Judge & Jury as a review copy as I normally would have steered clear and missed a really good and not particularly demanding read. Judge and Jury proved me wrong and, as a friend of mine says, there you go.

In this case the famous mystery writer is James Patterson of Along Came A Spider and Kiss The Girls fame and the some guy is Andrew Gross who previously co-wrote another mystery or thriller with Patterson. Judge & Jury is exactly what you sometimes want in a mystery novel: a good story, solid characters you care about, a story that keeps you going, but nothing for the reader to solve in terms of a locked room or whodunit. This is a kick back and let James Patterson and Andrew Gross take you for a ride kind of book and it was exactly what I was looking for at the time.

Judge & Jury is the story of bit part actress Andie DeGrasse who is selected as juror for the trial of Mafia (I know, I know, there is no such thing as the Mafia) boss Dominic the Electrician Cavello. It is also the story of Special Agent Nick “Smiles” Pellisante, the man who captured Cavello, and of Richard Nordeshenko, the contract killer and terrorist the don hired to get him out of this mess not once but twice. Basically something happens and DeGrasse and Pellisante go after Don Cavello on their own.

Judge and Jury is an easy to read what’s going to happen next kind of mystery: You know the players, you know whodunit or who is going to do it though not how and you want to find out how and what the next move is.  Part of the fun in this mystery novel is you get the story from Andie DeGrasse’s point of view, the story as told by Special Agent Pellisante, and you also get the version of hit man Nordeshenko.

James Patterson and Andrew Gross succeed: they keep you turning to the next page to find out what happens next. Sometimes you just want something fun and easy to read and this book is it.

Judge & Jury
James Patterson and Andrew Gross
Little Brown 2006
400 pages

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