Jurors and Juries in Fiction



Jurors and Juries in Fiction



I felt sure that my novel would be only one of dozens in which jurors are featured characters. Then I tried to find comparable stories and characters. After searching the DorothyL listserv, Amazon, Google, and Alibris (in that order) the following 20 novels (not counting Grisham’s) are all I could find. (I also found dozens of Martha Grimes “Richard Jury” novels, Mickey Spillane’s “I the Jury,” and a few others with “jury” in the title that had little to do with juries and trials.) Most of the novels listed here are out of print.



Then I also found a number of nonfiction books about juries, most written by judges and lawyers who really don’t know the first thing about what goes on in a jury room. Many of these books are laments about the sorry state of the American jury system or pseudo-psychology of “the jury mind.” The sole exception is the work of Dr. Susan Sunwolf. She seems to be unique among lawyers in that she understands that jurors don’t think like lawyers and vice versa.



My conclusion? Most lawyers are contemptuous of jurors. Most novels involving jurors are courtroom dramas that reflect this legal bias. Most Americans want to avoid jury duty at all cost because of this general disregard for jury service. Few novelists have ever served on a jury, and as a result few novelists want to write about jurors. More’s the pity.

Comments invited: Please comment, especially if you have read any of the books in this list. Review comments are especially welcome.



Classic:  Rose, Reginald, Twelve Angry Men (novel, as well as a movie)



Most of the novels of John Grisham



Other novels (mainly mysteries and thrillers)



Arsenault, Mark, Grave Writer



 Brown, Sandra, The Crush



Burnett, D. Graham, A Trial by Jury
   
Chester, Giraud, The Ninth Juror



Collins, Brandilyn, Dread Champion



Davis, Rankin,  Hung Jury
  
Delinski, Barbara, Irresistible Impulse



Devane, Terry, Juror Number Eleven



Dugoni, Robert, The Jury Master



Gill, B. M., The Twelfth Juror



Glaspell, Susan, A Jury of Her Peers (short story)



Green, Geoge Dawes, The Juror



Hall, Parnell,  Juror



Kliss, Kate, Trial by Journal (juvenile)



Korelitz, Jean Hanff Korelitz, A Jury of Her Peers



Lutz, John, Death by Jury
   
Macwhithey, Bill, The Thirteenth Juror



Martini, Steve, The Jury



Stewart, Edward, Jury Double



Van Wormer, Laura, Jury Duty



   
Noteworthy Nonfiction 



Adler, Stephen J., The Jury: Trial and Error in the American Courtroom



Friedman, Philip, Grand Jury



Erenfreund, Norbert, You’re the jury (series)



Levy, Leonard, The Palladium of Justice



Sunwolf, Susan, Jury Thinking



Wishman, Seymour, Anatomy of a Jury