Swann, Joyce and Alexandra. The Twelfth Juror. El Paso: Frontier 2000 Media Group, 2010. 363 pp. $21.99. Purchase at Amazon for less.
Joyce and Alexandra Swann are a mother and daughter team. Joyce was a homeschooling mother to her ten children and columnist for Practical Homeschooling. Alexandra wrote, No Regrets: How Homeschooling Earned me a Master’s Degree at Age Sixteen. The two ladies have also written The Fourth Kingdom.
Megan Cleary is a young, upstart lawyer in New York City who is doing extraordinarily well. One night, while working late in her office, she is attacked and left for dead. So she returns home to Buffalo for awhile in order to recuperate from her injuries. Upon moving back to New York she discovers that all is not well with her as she is not able to adjust back to city life. To help her cope, she purchases a gun and then gets a German Shepherd as a guard dog for her apartment. Nonetheless, she is attacked–this time just outside her office. Remembering the gun in her purse, she pulls it out and shoots. She then flees the scene. From there her life unravels completely.
The rest of the story is how she deals with her conscience as well as the person blackmailing her regarding her own “crime.” Along the way, she meets an older black lady while attending a Bible study who shares the gospel with her. To discover how the story ends, you will have to read it for yourself.
It is difficult to review a book like The Twelfth Juror without giving away much of the plot. What I can say is that the book is extremely fast-paced and will keep you guessing to the very end. The characters were all well-developed and believable–something that is hard to come by in a novel.
Regarding any criticism, suffice it to say I wish the lead character, Megan, was more honest about her own crime with those who needed to know. While the gospel was presented clearly, I wish the word “sin” was used (other than in the usual general statement of Christ’s dying for sins) instead of “the things you done wrong.” What I mean is that it is one thing to say that Christ died for sins but it is something else completely to say that “you have sinned.” That being said, Christ was absolutely proclaimed as was Megan’s need to put her faith in Him (and not just a generic faith in God) in order to be born again unto salvation.
A gripping story that will keep you reading until the wee hours of the morning, The Twelfth Juror is full of twists and turns and a deeper message of forgiveness of biblical proportions. While this book will certainly resonate more with women, it is certainly a page turner to be enjoyed by many. I recommend this book to older teens and beyond simply because of the graphic, though appropriate, details throughout the book.