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