*Book source ~ Many thanks to Untreed Reads for providing a review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Sixteen-year-old Ed Japhet performs a magic show at his Prom and that’s what brings things to a head between him and the local gang leader, Urek. After Prom Urek and three of his stooges attack Ed, Ed’s girlfriend Lila and Ed’s dad, causing grievous harm to Ed and smashing up Mr. Japhet’s car. Urek is arrested and brought to trial. But will he be deemed guilty or not?
While this book was first written in 1971 the basic meaning of it hasn’t changed 40 years later. A person is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but that doesn’t mean a guilty person is always convicted. Unfortunately, what Ed says in the book is true, back than as well as today. The justice system is a game and the best person to play it wins. Or like Ed with his magic. Slight of hand. Look what I’m doing over here and ignore what’s going on over there. Thomassy knows his client is guilty but he achieves a physical high on playing the game and winning. He doesn’t care that he’s putting a dangerous person back on the street as long as he comes out the winner. Granted, there are many stereotypes in this book, but it doesn’t change the underlying message. Our justice system, on the whole, sucks. Depressing, but true. How can it be fixed? I have no idea. The ending starts the beginning all over again. All-in-all this is an excellently written story about what can (and usually does) happen in a courtroom.