Monday, March 23, 2009
No one is telling the truth in Brooklyn
"A Cure for Night" by Justin Peacock opens with Joel Deveraux and his girlfriend Beth discussing their next get together. Shortly thereafter Beth is found dead in the ladies room after chocking on her vomit from taking drugs.
Beth's father is an influential attorney and accuses Joel of supplying the drugs, he hasn't but admits to taking drugs himself. As a result, he's fired from his firm and his license to practice law is suspended for six months.
Through a friend, Joel is offered a job at the Brooklyn public defender's office. There, after a number of average cases, he is appointed second chair to Myra Goldstein in defending Lorenzo Tate in a murder trial.
How do you defend someone who has confessed to murder and there is a witness who identified him as the shooter? This is the task they endeavor to achieve.
Tate is accused in killing college student Seth Lipton.
We find that most of the character's in this courtroom drama are deeply flawed. Seth is not an innocent college student who is only at the drug scene because he is researching his thesis in sociology. No, we learn from his college roommate that Seth is a buyer and seller of heroine and cocaine for other students on campus.
Did Tate only confess because he had been in an interview room for over twelve hours and he doesn't have a high IQ?
We learn that the witness has a child by Malik Taylor and he and Devin Wallace have had arguments over Yolanda Miller who has had Taylor's child but is now living with Wallace, a drug dealer and the other person shot but only wounded with Lipton was killed.
During the course of the story Joel defends a young man accused of having drugs. He helps win an acquittal only to find that the man was, in fact, guilty.
The story goes on but the characters are not likable. Joel has a drug history and is tempted with drugs during the course of the Lorenzo Tate trial.
As the trial is coming to an end, Myra and Joel are telling the jury of Yolanda Miller identifying Tate when it could have been Malik Taylor who had shot Wallace.
Just before the culmination of the trial something unexpected happens and there is a surprise twist in the plot.
The events enfolded with little suspense and with the flawed characters, this book did not appeal to me.
Not recommended even though it was nominated for an Edgar Award for the best first novel in the mystery field.