All Booked | Legal Dramas Amid Jury Duty in Los Angeles


This edition of All Booked was originally emailed to subscribers on August 30, 2022. To receive our literary newsletter in your inbox, sign up at independent.com/newsletters.


Hello, book lovelies!

Last week, I was chosen to serve on a jury in federal court. This is my first experience serving on a jury, and for it to be in federal court makes it feel extra dramatic. For the past week, I’ve been living the dreaded LA commuter life. Sometimes, I’m getting on the road as early as 5 am to get down there in time and before the traffic picks up, just to turn around hours later and drive all the way home. In my many hours of driving, I have been listening to music, podcasts, and (of course) audiobooks.

I’m currently fascinated by crime, and I want to immerse myself into that world a bit more. I have read a few legal thrillers in the past that I’ve really enjoyed, and I think now is a great time to dive into more. I wasn’t exactly sure what to pick up, since there are so many options out there. So I decided to use the Book Match program at the Santa Barbara Public Library. I submitted my questionnaire and explained that I was looking for a book with some crime action and also a podcast element. I also gave two of my most recent and favorite books that involved crime and courtrooms — The Night Swim by Megan Goldin Miracle Creek by Angie Kim. I wanted to share the results of my book match with you mainly to show what a great resource the Book Match program is. It’s free to use, open to everyone with a library card, and it delivers personalized recommendations straight from a librarian. You also have the option to have the library put holds on the recommended books for you. This was my first time using the resource, and I have to say I really enjoyed the whole process and I’m looking forward to picking these reads up.

I am a big believer in going into a book knowing as little as possible. I try not to read too much of the synopses or reviews, since most of them over-share. My pitches below are short and sweet just for that reason.


Credit: Courtesy

A Death in Live Oak by James Grippando is a courtroom mystery and was a favorite of the library’s Crime Book Club. It’s the 14th book in a series, but I’ve been told that you don’t need to have read any of the others to appreciate this one.

Here’s the part of the publisher’s synopsis:

“When the body of Jamal Cousin, president of the pre-eminent black fraternity at the Florida’s flagship university, is discovered hogtied in the Stygian water swamps of the Suwanee River Valley, the death sets off a firestorm that threatens to rage out of control when a fellow student, Mark Towson, the president of a prominent white fraternity, is accused of the crime.


Credit: Courtesy

If I Disappear by Eliza Jane Brazier ticks off my podcast box. I loved the use of a podcast in The Night Swim and wanted more of that element.

Here’s the part of the publisher’s synopsis:

“When her favorite true-crime podcast host goes missing, an adrift young woman plunges headfirst into the wild backcountry of Northern California and her own dangerous obsession.”


Credit: Courtesy

I Know You Know by Gilly Macmillan, is actually the book I decided to pick up and am currently reading. It has multiple POVs, different timelines, and a podcast. I’m really enjoying it so far, especially the podcast chapters.

Here’s the part of the publisher’s synopsis:

“Twenty years ago, 11-year-olds Charlie Paige and Scott Ashby were murdered in the city of Bristol, their bodies dumped near a dog-racing track. A man was convicted of the brutal crime, but decades later, questions still linger. For his whole life, filmmaker Cody Swift has been haunted by the deaths of his childhood best friends. The loose ends of the police investigation consume him so much that he decides to return to Bristol in search of answers. Hoping to uncover new evidence, and to encourage those who may be keeping long-buried secrets to speak up, Cody starts a podcast to record his findings from him. ”


If you have read any of these books or have other legal mystery/thriller recommendations for me, please reply to this email and let me know! I’m always looking for more recommendations and would love to hear from you.

Your smitten bookworm, Emily


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