A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
Best First Novel
Joel Deveraux is a rising star at a white-shoe law firm in Manhattan. But after a drug-related scandal costs him his job and nearly his law license, he slides down the corporate ladder to the Booklyn Defenders office. He arrives just in time for a high profile murder case, where he is assigned to work with the tough and savvy Myra Goldstein. With pressure from their boss and interest from the tabloids, they take on the defense of a black pot dealer from the projects who is charged with the murder of a white college student. Joel quickly learns that urban criminal law is a form of combat where the best story wins–but who’s telling the truth and who’s lying are matters of life and death.
A deeply flawed and endearing protagonist powers Peacock's impressive debut. Joel Deveraux, once an up-and-coming corporate litigator at one of New York City's most prestigious law firms, resigned in disgrace after a paralegal working on one of his cases died from a heroin overdose. Joel later tries to resurrect himself personally and professionally by becoming a public defender in Brooklyn. But when he's asked to help enigmatic lawyer Myra Goldstein with a high profile case involving the shooting death of a white college student "gunned down in the projects," Joel is forced to revisit some of the same issues that almost ruined him years earlier. Peacock's intimate knowledge of the courtroom and carefully crafted prose aside, the gritty realism, intense emotional intimacy and socially relevant subject matter racism, America's war on drugs, the "corporate culture" of drug dealers make this a deeply thought-provoking read in a genre that can be anything but.