I quite like legal suspense and am always on the lookout for new authors, so I happily picked up With Prejudice.
Peguero rapidly introduces us to a large group of characters - jury members, prosecution, defense and judge, all involved with a rape/murder case. We meet them in the present, but are then served up a snapshot of their past. A time that they exhibited prejudice - racial, faith, sexual orientation, social status and more. These moments can be tied to the present.
But....yes, I have a but. Those time periods don't follow a pattern. So, that was difficult to keep track of. Sometimes the jurors are called by name, some by number. Also confusing.
I agree with Peguero's take on the 'prejudices'. This happens and is indeed an issue. I applaud that part of the book.
But the execution wasn't great for this reader. I found the courtroom legal machinations to be overly convoluted, with way too much legalese. Peguero has worked as a homicide prosecutor in Miami, so his take on that bit is spot on. But, I found myself skim reading some of those scenes as the end drew nearer. Which took a while for me to reach, as I kept picking up and putting down the book. It didn't hold my interest as I had hoped. Peguero did surprise me with a late entry twist that changed things. The jury is still out for me on the ending. For me it almost negated what had come before. On the other hand, it does show the cracks in our systems.
The prose are staccato, almost presented like court documents. It kept me at arm's length as the depiction of the characters was too clinical. They never became 'real' to me.
A solid debut, but not a stand out for this reader. See for yourself - read an excerpt of With Prejudice.