The subtitle tells what this is about: “Inside Chicago’s Cook County Public Defender’s Office,” and it is utterly fascinating. It has an amazing woman at the center of it – what a character! – who pulls out all the stops to defend some truly awful people, as well as some who aren’t. The writer has done an excellent job of reporting the story so it reads with the pacing and urgency of a novel, but never straying from good journalism into making things up or manipulating the reader. He simply choses his material well and unfolds in the right way. I had never heard of this book, but I bumped into when searching for something else and am really glad I did. It’s not for the faint of heart. Some of the crimes that go through that courthouse make the most gruesome thrillers pale in comparison. But through it all the message is clear that we owe PDs a debt of gratitude for taking on a job that most people despise and giving it their best regardless of what they think of their clients.
I wonder if the author will turn to crime fiction – three of the five blurbs on the cover are from crime fiction authors. If he does, I’m there.