Attorney/author David Ellis creates an authentic world of corrupt cops, ambitious politicians, and dogged PIs. But Jury of One is still a generally bland legal thriller, occasionally enlivened by compelling courtroom theatrics and a compassionate heroine, children's rights attorney Shelly Trotter. Here, Shelly defends teenage Alex, a small-time cocaine dealer accused of murdering a rogue cop. But the frequent flashbacks to Shelly's own traumatic adolescence seem overwrought (''the nights a young woman lies awake, stroking her swollen belly, dreaming of the child she will never know''), and Ellis lapses into soap opera prose in an unnecessary romantic subplot (''Shelly detected a hint of his cologne and felt a stirring''). The pretension tends to overshadow Jury's genuine surprises.