2013 Reading: The Jury by Steve Martini

juryThe Jury (A Paul Madriani Novel) isn’t going to persuade me to read any more Steve Martini books. I only read this one because I got the book on tape at a library sale ($0.25) and because I do occasionally read legal thrillers to get a sense of how other writers handle plot. But I don’t think I learned much from this one, other than that you can have huge plot holes if you’re already famous.

The story is about a California attorney handling a case in San Diego in which he represents a scientist accused of murdering one of the researchers who works for him. Not much about the story is plausible and the ending is truly unbelievable. And then there’s the matter of the author’s conservative politics shining through in some of the statements made by the protagonist. That shouldn’t matter, but it did to me, just as Barbara Kingsolver’s work bothers some conservative readers. Okay, now I can say I’ve read a Martini novel; that’s enough.

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  1. Clifford, FWIW, the series pretty much jumped the shark the first time (yes, you read that correctly) with Martini’s move from the fictitious Capital City (which is laughable…he made no secret that the setting was California; why not just say Sacramento?) to San Diego. This is, I think, the second Madriani novel set in SD. Martini rallies a bit with “The Arraignment” & “Double Tap,” then falls off. I’d suggest the first three Madriani books and stand-alone “Critical Mass” (whose protagonist shows up in a recent Madriani novel) as his best offerings. “Simeon Chamber” is utterly implausible, but kind of fun.
    Martini’s own words in a recent interview essentially amount to the idea that he’s sick of writing Madriani, and one wonders if it was showing up much earlier. Any future Mardriani stories probably should be prequels. Fair review, but there’s better by him out there.

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