A Cure for Night is the first novel from Justin Peacock, a young lawyer turned writer. That's a fine tradition, and Peacock makes a discerning choice of mentor. He forgoes the flashier precincts of John Grisham, where all is conspiracy and the legalese is leavened with bombs and gunplay, and heads toward Scott Turow country, where characters get enmeshed in the murky, moral corners of the actual law…you're not hiring Justin Peacock to be Bret Easton Ellis or Richard Price. He's all about the law, and based on his work here, he's got a good chance to make partner.
The New York Times
A Cure for Night has a routine plotyoung lawyer, difficult clientbut rises above it because Peacock writes so well. Few first-time novelists share his ability to maintain a fast pace even as he introduces well-drawn characters and explores interesting ideas. And his use of dialogue, particularly among the dealers, is first-rate…I'm going to give this book to a law student I know, because it's an honest look at the choices and frustrations young lawyers face. The novel climaxes not only with a verdict in the trial of Lorenzo Tate, but with a final scene that made me late for a lunch date because I couldn't stop reading. If the chilling events therein don't cure Joel and Myra of their idealism, nothing will. When the prizes are awarded for this year's best first novel, A Cure for Night will be competing for the gold.
The Washington Post
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. (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Joel Deveraux is not the high-minded, do-gooder type usually found in the Public Defender's Office. He landed there only after being caught in a drug scandal at his first job with a prestigious law firm, and he's lucky he wasn't disbarred in the process. He spends his days pleading out drug dealers until he is asked to sit second chair with one of the office stars, Myra Goldstein, who isn't told why this Ivy League lawyer is now working for her. Goldstein is handling a hot potato, a murder case involving Lorenzo Tate, a black drug dealer accused of murdering a white college student in a street shooting. There's an eyewitness, the media is all over this one, and it's not looking good for Lorenzo. The story takes place in Brooklyn, NY, which is a nice change of venue for a legal thriller. Deveraux is a damaged lawyer, which adds interest to this smart, fast, and thoroughly entertaining debut from Brooklyn-based lawyer Peacock. Highly recommended for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ5/1/08.]
After flaming out at a prestigious firm, a young lawyer does penance in the public-defenders office, learning quickly and sharply about the legal system of the streets in a fast-moving debut thriller. Joel Deveraux's smarts took him on an uninterrupted track from a modest family and educational background through Columbia Law to a white-shoe firm. Then his smooth upward glide was interrupted by a relationship with Beth, a young paralegal who turned him on to heroin, providing blissful escape from a mind-numbing billable life as an associate. Beth won the undeclared race to see who could crash and burn quicker, dying of an overdose in the ladies room and leaving Joel to limp away from the firm and sit out a six-month suspension of his license. He got away light. Beth's rich, vengeful father did his best to have the young lawyer disbarred for life. At the end of his suspension he goes to work for the public-defenders office at the bottom of the ladder, handling the arraignments of the bottom of New York's criminal food chain. His luck changes when his supervisor assigns him to work a murder case under smart, prickly Myra Goldstein. Joel, who's more likable than he thinks, scrambles to prove himself useful to Myra, who hadn't seen the need for any help, thank you. Their defendant is an amiable black drug dealer who seemingly had nothing to gain from shooting a guy who owed him money, accidentally doing in a white bystander in the area. But the wounded victim's girlfriend swears she saw him pull the trigger. Myra and Joel do the investigative work that the police neglected, discovering that the bystander was not so innocent, and that there was hanky-panky with the police work on theidentification. The two lawyers build a case and a relationship, the case goes to trial and, with some hair-raising turns, justice reigns. Not groundbreaking, but plenty entertaining. Agent: Betsy Lerner/Dunow, Carlson & Lerner