George Dawes Green
Grand Central, Jun 2009, $13.99
Single mom Annie Laird struggles to make ends meet as a part-time data entry clerk and as a starving sculptress. She is selected to the jury of a Westchester County murder trial of mob boss Louie Buffano.
Almost immediately after joining the jury, Annie meets a sophisticated art broker who buys some of her work. He invites her to dinner and she accepts. The man is a Taoist Wall Street financier who quotes Lao Tse with ease of an expert. He is called "The Teacher" and actually runs the Buffano mob from behind the scene. He offers her a choice of the safety of her and her son Oliver, and a rewarding sculpturing career that will make her wealthy or two deaths; hers and her child. He explains further to live affluently she must say not guilty; otherwise she will not live nor will Oliver even though he is falling in love with his pawn.
THE JUROR is a fabulous psychological drama as Annie goes through a myriad of emotions while the Teacher pushes her panic buttons with the scenario of a dead Oliver even after he concludes he loves his target. The story line leaps from one maniacal scene to another as the Teacher is an insane yet brilliant sociopath who forces Annie to fight as flight is not an option though fright is destroying her gut. Fans will appreciate this one sitting thriller reminiscent of the Baldwin-Moore movie of the same title yet much more horrific as the mom concludes the only way her offspring will be safe is with the death of the Teacher.