We, the Jury

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 01 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

Robert Rotstein tells the story of a trial and jury deliberation through the eyes of each juror, as well as the judge and courtroom staff.  We The Jury was a slow read for me, but it was entertaining as well.  As the story progressed, I began to recognize the different character voices, so I think Mr Rotstein did a good job of drawing their character portraits.  There is a side story involving the judge that sets the scene for jury deliberations, and eventually for the verdict.  I kept picturing the jury table/room from 12 Angry Men, which brought a the jury room discussions alive for me.  I think that We the Jury might make an interesting book discussion selection as there were so many areas to discuss, debate and question.  3.5
I received my copy through NetGalley under no obligation.
Was this review helpful?
4.5 Rounded to 5

After reading Matt's Review of this book I knew I had to pick it up from Netgalley. I don’t typically read legal thrillers, but the premise of this was just too ‘Twelve Angry Men’ for me to pass on. Ultimately, it does have some of the feel of the old black and white movie, but it is also brought full force into the now.

A man is on trial for killing his wife. Did he kill her out of self-defense, due to ongoing abuse and humiliation at the hands of his wife? Or, is he just trying to get away with murder? I don’t want to spoil any of this story for anyone, so I’ll just say that for a legal thriller, this one really had me flipping the pages as fast as I could. Every time I thought I knew the ‘real’ truth, something happened, or a piece of evidence was discussed, that made me question my beliefs. Ultimately, I’m not jealous of anyone that served on that jury. Having been on a murder trial before, I could definitely feel the pressure of having to make the right decision based on the evidence, and it was extremely difficult to be the heads of the some of the jurors that weren’t taking the situation seriously enough. We do end up getting the POV of each of the jurors, as well as other key players within the story, and all have very unique voices and personalities. Of course, we don’t get any POV from the husband or his kids, which makes the whole story that much more realistic. You really feel like you are part of the jury trying to figure out this man’s fate.

Highly recommended to anyone that enjoys legal thrillers, or the courtroom process in general. This was very realistic.

Received via Netgalley and reviewed of my own accord.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC of We, The Jury by Robert Rotstein in exchange for an honest review. This book was suggested to me, and had a lot of hype surrounding it.  I thought it was mediocre.  The premise was interesting, a jury trial deliberation being told by the members of the jury.  It went through the different personalities, their thoughts, and their feelings about the case. It also had the judge and the lawyers and some of their teams giving their thoughts, too. 
I liked the beginning, but then I felt the book lost something.  The end was confusing to me, as I really didn't understand the motive of the Jury Consultant doing what they did.  If that had been better explained, other than to use their skills to alter the perception of others, I think I would have been more satisfied.  Additionally, the story line about the judge, her grief, and her onset of Alzheimer's Disease was very sad, and led a bit of humanity to the story. 
I was disappointed in the outcome of the book, as I thought it had a great premise, and it started well. 
#WeTheJury #RobertRotstein #NetGalley
Was this review helpful?
We the Jury by Robert Rotstein is a 2018 Blackstone publishing publication. 

Wow! What a unique look at the legal process as witnessed from every person involved in a high -profile murder case. 

I absolutely love legal thrillers, but over the past several years I’ve found them lacking. Usually, the lawyers have turned into amateur sleuths and there is little or no legal wrangling or even an appearance in a courtroom. I’d become a little frustrated with the genre, but recently, I've seen a small, but promising, resurgence in the more traditional legal thriller/ courtroom drama. 

This book, however, takes the usual courtroom drama to a new level by allowing the reader to review the entire process through the eyes of the judge, the bailiff, the court clerk, both lawyers, and of course-as the title suggests- the jury. 

On trial is a man who admits to killing his wife, but swears it was in self- defense, claiming the battered spouse defense. After weighing the evidence presented, the jurors begin deliberations. Usually, I’m utterly enthralled by the legal jockeying between the opposing lawyers. 

But, the most riveting part of this novel, for me, was the journey the jurors took in finally arriving at a unanimous verdict. 

This novel was so realistic, I sometimes had to remind myself it was a work of fiction. The difficulties with a likeable judge, who may no longer be fit to do her job was at once terrifying and very poignant. 

The lawyers were in many ways typical, but the prosecutor, even though he had political aspirations, was tolerable, especially when compared to the big city lawyer for the defense. The other courtroom mainstays who are often looked upon as minor players, like the court stenographer, for example, got their props a little in this story, too, and that was a nice touch, I thought. 

But, again, the real drama took place during jury deliberations. Each of the jurors, which ranged from a member of the clergy, to a housewife, to a retired school principal, all have a voice, some more than others, which is also realistic. I’m not sure I liked the majority of them, but as someone who served on a jury once, this jury was uncannily familiar. My case was a civil trial, not a criminal one, but the diversity on the jury was quite similar, and the case exposed some hidden truths about the people I’d come to know in the week we were shut up together in the courtroom.

There was an ‘insider’ on the jury, someone who worked in the court system, but our foreman was much more suited to the role. Still, I was amazed that after listening to and viewing all the evidence together, that there were so many different opinions when we took that first vote. Then, slowly, and sometimes heatedly, we eventually agreed to a verdict. Since it was a civil trial, however, it did not have to be unanimous and we did still have one hold out. It was a fascinating learning experience, but not one I’m especially keen on repeating. 

The story is deeply absorbing, and certainly paints the process in a such a way that it will give readers a lot to think about. It is a very different approach to the legal thriller, but a thriller, it certainly is, with a few curveballs thrown you won’t see coming. 

The author did a terrific job with this one. I’m impressed!!
Was this review helpful?
When I first saw the description pf We, the Jury on NetGalley I was reminded of 12 Angry Men.  While this novel is on par with that great classic, We, the Jury stands on its own.  Woven into a fabric of a sensational trial where an alleged battered husband kills his former high school teacher come wife are threads of socioeconomic, gender and race issues.  A diverse jury is used to illuminate how past experiences color perception.  The impact of the judge's mental state on the direction of the trial is examined.  The reliability of witness statements, credibility of expert testimony, counsel perfomance -- in Rotstein's deft hand all the players in the process of justice are given due attention.
For these reasons We, the Jury was not only suspenseful but thought provoking as well.  

Special thanks to NetGalley, Blackstone publishing and Robert Rotstein for access to this book in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
We The Jury was an interesting read.  It’s about what goes on behind the scenes in a court house after the trial. A man was accused of murdering his wife.
Was this review helpful?
David Sullinger is on trial for the murder of his wife.. Was it self defense as he claims? I love courtroom mysteries /dramas but this one had a lot of points of views. Too many for me although most readers may not be bothered by this, in the end I think it's reader preference. We get the points of view of the judge, bailiff, jurors, prosecutor, defense lawyer, journalists, court reporter and more. I think I expected a twist or something revelatory at the end and I was disappointed this wasn't the case. If you like reading about the ins and outs of being jury deliberations combined with many viewpoints this might be for you
Was this review helpful?
This book was AWESOME. When I  was younger I loved reading through my mom's John Grisham paperbacks and learning about law and trials and attorneys. For years now I haven't picked up any legal thrillers, but when I started this I was so mesmerised and just fell back in love with the nuance and themes of criminal justice. This story focuses on the jury of a famous case in a small town. A husband is accused of killing his wife in their home with an axe, while the husband pleas for self-defence, claiming that his wife has been harassing him and torturing him mentally for years.

The point of view darts throughout the novel from the judge, the various juries, and many others, and it's such an interesting way to tell the story. Instead of focusing more on only the jury's considerations, or the trial itself (which wasn't much told chronologically in the book), or asking us readers to form an opinion whether the man is guilty or not, we see many different aspects of the case - we see the diminishing mental state of the judge since the loss of her husband, we observe a famous reporter trying to cover the phenomenal story, we see a glimpse into a clergyman who was a jury and has a dark past. It all combines in the jury deliberation room, and while we also hear about these people's stories, we also get slowly informed about the case itself, and what the people thought about it.

It's such a compelling read, and a great thriller. It's far from fast-paced, or full of action or murder and blood. It's not a whodunnit story, and does not have huge plot twists either. But for some reason I just kept reading and highly enjoyed every page of it. The ending was spectacular, but for me the best parts were the middle where we slowly get to know all the characters.

Overall, if you like legal thrillers you should definitely give this a try. And I think it is also perfect for people who are not used to reading courtroom fiction and intimidated by all its phrases and unknown procedures, because in this book the story and the people are the focus instead of the trial itself. Additionally this book isn't as long as a mass-market paperback by John Grisham so it's a great stepping stone for those of you interested. But all in all, I highly recommend this awesome book.
Was this review helpful?
3.5 stars 

As the book opens, Sepulveda County Superior Court Judge Natalie Quinn-Gilbert is giving jury instructions in the trial of David Sullinger. Sullinger, who split open the head of his wife Amanda with an axe, claims he was a battered husband who killed in self-defense.

The judge - recently widowed and consumed with grief - hasn't been her best self lately. Nevertheless, she oversaw the proceedings; the prosecution and defense have rested their cases; and the jury has its job to do. 

The bulk of the story is about jury deliberations, told from the jurors' rotating points of view. But we also get glimpses into what's going on in the heads of the judge; court clerk; bailiff; prosecuting attorney; paralegal; and sensation-seeking journalist/blogger.

The eight jurors are a diverse group of individuals, including:

- The foreperson - an anxious, coffee-loving, middle-aged woman who works in an office.
- The clergyman - a sizable man who doesn't have much to say.
- The grandmother - a former high school Vice-Principal who has hearing problems. 
- The student - the youngest member of the jury, a young lady concerned about doing the right thing. 
- The express messenger/actor - an observant young man with a flippant attitude. 
- The architect - a fashionable woman who's worried about her business. 
- The housewife - a pushy homebody with a strong opinion about everything. 
- The jury consultant - a stylish professional woman who's had experience with trials and witnesses.

When deliberations begin, all the jurors seem to have a similar opinion about whether David Sullinger acted in self-defense or whether he murdered his wife in cold blood. Great! The jury foreman can just 'push the red button' (which signals a decision) and they can go home. 

Not so fast though! A couple of the jurors want to talk about specific bits of evidence such as: an incident with a hot tuna casserole; the contradictory testimony of the Sullingers' teenage children; a troubling occurrence in culinary school; the axe that killed Amanda Sullinger; a certain letter; and more. It turns out things aren't so cut and dried after all. 

As the jurors debate, some become less certain about their original judgment and others refuse to budge. In fact two or three seem to have an agenda. But who and why might surprise you. 

Other characters add depth and interest to the story. These are: 

- The courtroom clerk who bakes cupcakes with Judge Quinn-Gilbert and worries about the jurist's health. 
- The bailiff who got tossed off the 'real' police force.
- The journalist/blogger who's not too ethical about getting a story.
- The prosecutor who should have done his homework better.
- The CSR (Certified Shorthand Reporter) who reads back evidence in the required monotone.
- The defense attorney who supposedly never loses a trial.....but may be about to lose her husband.
- The presiding judge of the Superior Court (the big boss), who's concerned about Judge Quinn-Gilbert's behavior.

The book strongly reminded me of the excellent 1957 film "12 Angry Men", about a jury of 12 white men who must decide the fate of a slum dweller - probably Hispanic - accused of killing his father. Both Rotstein's book and the film examine people's preconceived notions, prejudices, and biases. 

I enjoyed the novel, and thought the 'slightly addled judge' angle was a creative departure from the usual books set in courtrooms. I'd recommend the book to readers who like mysteries and courtroom dramas. 

Thanks to Netgalley, the author (Robert Rotstein), and the publisher (Blackstone Publishing) for a copy of the book.
Was this review helpful?
Wow!  Never judge a book by its cover.  I snagged this book on a bit of whim from NetGalley and Blackstone Publishing and I'm so glad I did.  The bland book design belies a complex look at a sordid courtroom tale.

We, the Jury takes you on a journey behind the scenes of a murder trial.  [From the synopsis] On the day before his twenty-first wedding anniversary, David Sullinger buried an ax in his wife's skull. Now, eight jurors must retire to the deliberation room and decide whether David committed premeditated murderer whether he was a battered spouse who killed his wife in self-defense.

Robert Rotstein adds a brand new layer to the 12 Angry Men type narrative by including not only the perspectives of the jurors in a scandalous murder trial, but also exposing the viewpoints of the court judge, the attorneys, the bailiff and other assorted characters involved.  

This book really delves into the grays of the judicial system--be it the fact that even a liar can tell the truth, that an angry man can fear, or even that an impartial jury always comes with certain prejudices.  Be prepared to change your mind, about the predisposition of the jurors, the fitness of the court members and even the guilt of the accused.

Highly recommend this quick, engrossing read, even though I wish it could have created more depth for each character. 4 stars!
Was this review helpful?
An Exceptional & Unique Legal Thriller 

Nothing is more exciting than reading a well written legal thriller. Combining suspense and drama, with lawyers battling it out in court and jury arguing back & forth to reach a verdict is simply thrilling.

We, The Jury is unique because it starts when the lawyers’ arguments end and jury deliberations begin. In a theme similar to 12 Angry Men, the story is focused more on the drama that plays out in the jury room than the actual legal arguments. Deciding a case of domestic murder, the jurors must now decide on whether the defendant is guilty or not. The story is however is not limited to the murder or the case. Beyond the case, there is a parallel drama playing out between the jurors as they battle to reach a unanimous verdict. 

A jury consists of twelve persons chosen to decide who has the better lawyer ~ Robert Frost.

The story is narrated from multiple perspectives (the jurors, the judge, bailiff, the lawyers, and a blogger covering the case). Every chapter is narrated from the POV of a different person, we learn something new, either about the case or about the jurors. The character development is top notch, even for the minor characters, which helps you understand their biases and motivations. Despite so many POVs involved, the narrative remains never gets confusing. We also hear the testimony of certain witnesses that shapes your own verdict about the case. I felt the POV of some of the characters never really added to the main story. There could have been more debate among the jurors rather than these story tracks that go nowhere but overall the story never lets you down at any point. 

Overall, Robert Rotstein has put together the most unique & entertaining legal thrillers, I‘ve ever read. Rotstein forces the readers to take a critical look at the jury system and the judicial system as a whole. With an engaging storyline, some great character development and incredible narration, We, the Jury is a Winner. If you enjoy reading legal thrillers & crime fiction, this is a Must Read!

Many Thanks to NetGalley, Blackstone Publishing, and the author Robert Rotstein for the ARC
Was this review helpful?
Disclosure:
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the NetGalley  book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255  : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  This was one long Book, but it does not take away from the excitement of this case.  This case follows Judge Natalie Gilbert following the death of her husband.  I have thoroughly enjoyed this book. I couldn't figure out if David Sullinger actually killed his wife in cold-blood or if it was self-defense.

I definitely would like to read more books from this author, especially the one he co wrote with James Patterson.
Was this review helpful?
There are some books that grab you as soon as you start the first chapter and you can’t break away, then there are the ones that have a slow start but gain momentum and you become completely engrossed, and then there are ones like this one, mediocre speed all the way through. I can’t say this was a bad book, it wasn’t, it is written very well, maybe too much detail sometimes, but it just never grabbed my full attention. 
It is a court room drama telling each jury members perspective as if you are sitting in the jury and going thru each person’s thoughts. If you like this type of book, it may be a great read for you. Sadly it was not one of my favorites. I will give this 3***’s because the premise of the story is good, it gives you a clear vision of a jury trial that is not only affected by the lawyers, judges, the family members testifying or the accused, but it is also affected by who you are sitting by in the jury or what you really want other people to think of you or your past experiences. We are given the ability to think freely, and sometimes basing our thoughts on happenings by our own thought limitations, not always conforming to what they want us to believe. Really kind of scary, I hope I am not in this situation ever. 
I want to thank Blackstone Publishing through NetGalley. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own. This one gets 3***’s.
Was this review helpful?
A trial procedural told in a very different manner.  The story progresses through the eyes and voices of individual members of the jury and court staff.  The storyline itself is good, the writing style elevates it to the level of a great mystery.  I kept reading long after I should have turned off the light.  Truly a great read!
Was this review helpful?
I was not familiar with the novels by Robert Rotstein prior to reading We, The Jury (thanks to Blackstone Publishing and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review). He has a series of legal mystery/thrillers featuring trial attorney Parker Stern (a field he knows well, as he has thirty years’ experience as an entertainment attorney), and I just might find those, because I really enjoyed this one.

The book revolves around the murder trial of David Sullinger, whose defense is that of a battered spouse who finally broke and fought back. David’s wife, Amanda, was a successful real estate broker in fictional Sepulveda County, CA – while Davide seems to have been somewhat of a dilettante/employment failure. There is no question that David is in fact an axe murderer, the only question is why and whether it was justified. 

Testimony is given by the Sullinger children, Dillon and Lacey. Dillon is an unreliable witness, being a drug addict who says it was actually David who was the abusive monster, while Daddy’s girl Lacey is not only testifying for her father, she is paying his legal bills, having hired a hotshot out-of-town attorney, using her inheritance. 

The awesome thing about this, and what sets it apart from other legal mystery/thrillers is that it is told from alternating points of view from the eight jurors, judge, bailiff, court clerk, defense attorney, paralegal, and court reporter. As if that isn’t enough, the jury is quite diverse, including a housewife, an architect, a student, a clergyman, a jury consultant, a former high school principal, an express messenger and the foreperson. Tons of perspectives, and it could have gone completely wrong, but somehow it works in this book, with the transitions between chapters being smooth throughout.

Because Lacey’s testimony is so credible and she is such a great witness, one might think that David was in fact justified in his actions…but of course things aren’t as straightforward as they might appear on the surface.
 Perhaps Rotstein’s extensive experience provided the basis for this well-plotted, juicy story with characters who are interesting throughout. I look forward to reading more from Mr. Rotstein! Four stars.
Was this review helpful?
Well written absorbing story. I've been on juries and always wondered how people think. This was fun for me in several ways because of that. Good book.
Was this review helpful?
We, the Jury is an intriguing, well-written courtroom drama.  But wait, it is so much more!  It is the story of a murder trial told from the perspectives of the jurors, the judge, her clerk and courtroom reporter, the defendant’s attorney…. 

In other words, it is a multi-perspective story that is mesmerizing and non-stop.  The characters are interesting and believable.  The dialogue is sharp and the question of guilt or innocence shifts almost constantly.  It’s a book that makes you pay attention. 

Some reviewers have called it razor-sharp and I can only agree whole heartedly.  In the class of legal thrillers, Robert Rotstein’s We, the Jury is a total standout. This is a book that mystery lovers will enjoy as well as anyone who likes courtroom procedurals.  I highly recommend this book. Mr Rotstein is an author I will look for in the future.

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
Was this review helpful?
"We, the jury" is about the opposite of its name--it is about a fragmentation of voices, vs. a union. These are the voices of the criminal justice system--the lawyers, the jurors, the judge, the court staff, even the Net gossiper--telling the story of a murder trial and its outcome. What's good: We have the ability to consider a mystery while navigating the story of the modern jury trial. We can feel the author's point, that within a trial stories we'll find a billion smaller stories. We have as well a personal saga of the grief and decline of a main court figure. (Again, note, a coming apart, not a moment of a single voice.) What's not as effective: While I liked several of the characters, I don't think I felt for any of them other than the tragic figure at the center. 

So, all in all, an intriguing idea, but not one of the greats. For this, I'm using the literal definition of GoodRead's star system--3 being I liked it.

Note: This book was provided to me for an unbiased review by NetGalley.
Was this review helpful?
I enjoyed this book. Reading different perspectives of each juror was very interesting. It was slow in certain places and the ending want completely satisfying to me but I do not think this could  have been handled any better.
Was this review helpful?
Mirror Mirror On The Wall....Who’s the FAIRIST of them all? 

It is said that juries have something that machines still lack-a sense of moral responsibility. 

But, do they really? 

When each juror is bringing their personal animosities and biases to the deliberation room, can a just verdict really be reached? 

Is winning more important than justice? Would you rather convince  your fellow jurors to see things your way, than admit that perhaps your initial thoughts may have been wrong and change whether you will vote to convict or acquit?

David Sullinger has been accused of murdering his wife in self defense, just before their 21st wedding anniversary. His wife, Amanda was once his 11th grade history teacher. They first slept together when he was 16 or 17 years old....their children disagree on which parent was “Satan”. 

The judge has just instructed the jury that David Sullinger just killed Amanda with malice aforethought. She left out the words, “It is for you to decide whether,” (David Sullinger just killed his wife Amanda with malice aforethought.) 

Do you think this jury or any, would not already have some strong opinions just based on these facts alone? 

Do you? 

Meet your jurors:

Juror #1   A records manager in an insurance company
Juror #6.  An architect 
Juror #17  A Housewife with 3 young children
Juror #11. A college student
Juror # 29. A jury consultant 
Juror #33. A grandmother who wears hearing aids...
Juror # 43 A clergyman
Juror #52 An express messenger/actor

This is a unique legal drama that shares with the reader, not only your jurors perspectives, but also those of the Honorable Natalie Quinn Gilbert, her clerk, Mick, the bailiff- Bradley Kobashigawa, both lawyers, and even a blogger whose job is to entertain..not to be objective. 

I loved hearing from them all, but it’s TERRIFYING to realize how much the personal lives, bias, and personal agendas, can affect the outcome of a trial! 

Who will prevail?

Will justice be served? 

I would thank to thank Netgalley, Blackstone Publishing and Robert Rotstein for the ARC I received in exchange for a candid review! This title was just released on Oct. 23rd 2018 and I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy legal dramas!
Was this review helpful?