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Identical Hardcover – October 15, 2013

741 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Turow continues his obsession with innocence (his breakout first novel, Presumed Innocent, 1987, was followed after 20 years by Innocent). In this strained reworking of the theme, the mystery centers on identical twins, Cass and Paul Giannis, who both attend a party at the home of their father’s greatest rival, Zeus Kronon, in 1982. The mythological references are many, most seeming to underscore the simple point that the book is about twins. The pivot for the action is the 2008 release from prison of Cass, who confessed to the 1982 murder of his girlfriend Athena Kronon (daughter of Zeus). Cass has been destroyed by prison; Paul is a state senator and mayoral candidate. Matters get further complicated when an ex–FBI agent and a PI reopen the murder case on their own, convinced that Cass is innocent. Much of this book is weighed down by unnecessary accounts of characters’ lives from childhood on. The interesting part has to do with the forensics of fingerprinting and DNA, though the 2008 time frame limits what can be done with that. All in all, a disappointment from a much-loved author. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Turow may have drunk from the well of innocence one too many times, but his fans are still thirsty. --Connie Fletcher


"A compulsively readable tale of love, guilt and revenge that may take its cues from the story of Pollux and Castor and other Greek myths but resonates even more strongly with the near-epic Kindle County narrative Turow has created over some three decades. Even when "Identical's" many twists challenge the reader to figure out who's on first, it is Turow's deftly drawn characters - coping with advancing age, old grief and lost love - that linger in the mind."―Los Angeles Times

"Suspense with twists and turns from a master of the form."―Sacramento Bee

"Complexity is the hallmark of Turow's brainy legal thrillers."―USA Today

"Turow has obvious fun with his mythological conceit...the process of discovery takes nice and sometimes unexpected twists. Amid the super modernity of DNA tests, the austerity of case law and the tangles of contemporary politics, Turow never loses sight of the ancient underpinnings of his story...Classic (in more senses than one) Turow."―Kirkus

"A wrenching story of violence, betrayal, and human credibility."―Library Journal

"It's classic Turow: love, lies, and lawyers."―Good Housekeeping

"A tantalizingly tangled web of betrayal, deception and familial love...this twisty who's-who whodunit packs plenty of drama."―Family Circle

"Scott Turow's new novel is the dedicated fiction-reader's version of El Dorado: a driving, unputdownable courtroom drama/murder mystery that is also a literary treasure, written in language that sparkles with clarity and resonates with honest character insight. I came away feeling amazed and fulfilled, as we only do when we read novelists at the height of their powers. Put this one on your don't-miss list." (Praise for Innocent)
Stephen King --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (October 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1455527203
  • ISBN-13: 978-1455527205
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (741 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,191 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Scott Turow was born in Chicago in 1949. He graduated with high honors from Amherst College in 1970, receiving a fellowship to Stanford University Creative Writing Center which he attended from 1970 to 1972. From 1972 to 1975 Turow taught creative writing at Stanford. In 1975, he entered Harvard Law School, graduating with honors in 1978. From 1978 to 1986, he was an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago, serving as lead prosecutor in several high-visibility federal trials investigating corruption in the Illinois judiciary. In 1995, in a major pro bono legal effort he won a reversal in the murder conviction of a man who had spent 11 years in prison, many of them on death row, for a crime another man confessed to.

Today, he is a partner in the Chicago office of Sonnenschein, Nath & Rosenthal an international law firm, where his practice centers on white-collar criminal litigation and involves representation of individuals and companies in all phases of criminal matters. Turow lives outside Chicago

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

137 of 148 people found the following review helpful By TChris TOP 500 REVIEWER on October 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
This is a review of the entire novel, not of the free four chapter preview.

The identical twin crime novel has been done so often it's become a cliché, but Scott Turow knows that. Just when I thought I had it figured out and was disappointed that the story followed an obvious path, the plot twisted. Then it twisted again, becoming a different story altogether. Kudos to Turow for taking a familiar plot device and doing something new with it. Unlike some of Turow's other novels, Identical isn't a courtroom thriller, a departure that might disappoint readers who want an author to write the same novel over and over. It is instead a novel about the intersection of politics and law. That's been done before too, but few writers do it better than Turow. Identical is set in the familiar legal terrain of Kindle County and features several secondary characters (including Sandy Stern) who are well known to Turow's fans.

Paul Gianis is a brand new attorney who, as the novel opens in 1982, will soon become a prosecutor in Kindle County. Paul is attending a picnic where several of the novel's principle characters are gathered, including Paul's twin brother Cass, his mother Lidia, his brother's caustic girlfriend Dita, and Dita's father, Zeus Kronen. After warning us that the day of the picnic will change Paul's life, Scott Turow jumps ahead to a 2008 parole hearing, where we meet Dita's brother, Hal Kronen, a wealthy real estate developer. Cass has nearly finished serving his sentence for Dita's murder. Also attending the hearing are Kronen's vice president for security, Evon Miller, and his private investigator, Tim Brodie. Paul, having departed the prosecutor's office for a lucrative personal injury practice, is now the majority leader in the state senate and a candidate for mayor.
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49 of 57 people found the following review helpful By plane on October 15, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition
A novel revolving around a murder and the parts that twin brothers play in it loosely based on the ancient Greek myth of Castor and Pollux. The Greek version has one of the twins mortal and the other the son of Zeus, head of the Gods and immortal. Upon the death of the mortal twin the other asks if his immortality can be shared with his dead brother.
Paul and Cass Giannis are identical twins growing up in Turow's favorite locale: Kindle county. Their family has been involved in a long term feud with their former neighbors the Kronons. Cass falls in love with Dita Kronon and wants to marry her in spite of the opposition of both families to the match. At a party given by Zeus Kronon, the patriarch of his family and her father Dita is beaten and murdered in her own room. Shortly afterward Cass confesses to the crime and plea bargains his way into serving 25 years at a minimum security prison.
The main events of the book take place in 2008, the year that Cass is released from prison, and coincidentally the year that Paul is running for mayor of Kindle county.
Evon Miller, an ex FBI agent, and head of security for ZP the Kronon family business decides to reopen the investigation into Dita's death 25 years ago and enlists the aid of Tim Brodie a former homicide detective and currently a private investigator. Evon's purpose is to make sure that Cass is really the one that killed Dita and not Paul who is running for mayor.
The permutations and spins of the investigation make for fascinating reading with the ending logical but not at all the one that we might believe. Turow is a master of painting scenes and logically developing his principal characters. A must read, and a very rewarding one with a surprise ending that will fascinate the reader, even those that have read Turow previously.
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51 of 63 people found the following review helpful By Paul Mastin TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Scott Turow has carved out a niche in legal fiction. As a practicing lawyer who has several novels that have been made into movies, he has a great feel for translating legal concepts and arguments into an interesting story. In Identical, one brother confesses to murdering his girlfriend, while his twin brother establishes his legal and political career. As the story begins, with the first brother's release from prison after his 25 year sentence, it becomes clear that there is more to the story.

When the lawyer brother ends up facing the murdered girl's brother in a political campaign, the old case takes center stage again, and the rest of the story slowly comes out. Much of the development of the novel reads like an episode of CSI or some other TV crime drama. Turow may be found guilty of abusing the readers' credulity. A couple of allusions are made to Shakespeare's use of confusion between twins in his plays. Those plays always frustrated me for their silliness. There is an element of that silliness in Identical, too.

Silliness aside, Turow moves the story along nicely, with occasional flashbacks to the scene of the crime, told from different characters' perspectives. The truth comes out, eventually, in a not terribly surprising conclusion. Ultimately, the family drama, long-held secrets, and the twin-swapping detracted from the strength of the legal and investigational strength of the story.

Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the complimentary electronic review copy!
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