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Reversible Errors Mass Market Paperback – November 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (November 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446612626
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446612623
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 4.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (146 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,357,831 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Arthur Raven, more versed in corporate law than criminal defense, is not eager to accept the court-appointed task of handling death-row inmate "Squirrel" Gandolph's last-minute appeal of his murder conviction. Fast approaching middle age, Arthur has come to terms with the burdens and disappointments of his life, among which are a schizophrenic sister for whom he is responsible and the realization that he will probably never make an enduring connection with a woman. But when evidence surfaces that might exonerate his client, he rises to the occasion with a quiet determination to see justice done. Facing a formidable prosecuting attorney and her former lover, the policeman whose testimony convinced Judge Gillian Sullivan to find Squirrel guilty, Arthur's persistence not only wins his client a temporary reprieve from execution but also endears him to Sullivan, who has fallen on hard times since Squirrel's trial--fresh out of prison herself for taking bribes, she is a most unlikely candidate for Arthur's affections. Scott Turow's masterful characterization of complex and multidimensional people catalyzed by events into searching reexamination of their own motives and ambitions is matched by the intricacies of his plot, which itself is well served by his insider's knowledge of the criminal justice system and his extraordinary understanding of the vagaries of the human heart. The prose is luminescent, the narrative compelling, and the moral implications of Arthur's personal and professional choices beautifully articulated. This is a tour de force for a novelist writing at the top of his game. --Jane Adams --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

The sixth novel from bestseller Turow is a big book about little people in big trouble, involving the death penalty (one of the author's real-life legal specialties), procedural foul-ups and a cast of characters who exemplify the adage about good intentions paving the road to hell. Arthur Raven (a middle-aged, undistinguished lawyer taking care of a schizophrenic sister in a suburb of Chicago) lands a career-making case: the 11th-hour appeal of a quasi-retarded death row inmate, Rommy "Squirrel" Gandolph (accused of triple homicide a decade earlier), on new testimony by a terminally ill convict. Muriel Wynn, an ambitious prosecutor, and Larry Starczek, the detective who originally worked the case, are Raven's adversaries. Plot thickener: Wynn and Starczek are engaged in a longstanding, tortuous, off-again, on-again affair (both being unhappily married) that predates the crime, and which may have indirectly influenced the course of the original investigation. Arthur pulls in the original presiding judge from the case, Gillian Sullivan, just emerging from her own prison stretch for bribery (which masks an even darker secret) to assist him on the case, which leads to another tortuous affair on the defense's side. On top of this (Turow is well known for his many-layered narratives) is the dynamic among the criminals themselves: the dying con may be covering up for his wayward nephew, further muddying the legal waters. The first part of the book, which flips back and forth between the original investigation (1991) and the new trial (2001), is structurally the most demanding, but it is vital to the way in which Turow makes Rommy's case (as well as Arthur's and Muriel's). No character in this novel is entirely likable; all seek to undo some past wrong, with results that get progressively worse. Turow fans should not be disappointed; nor should his publisher.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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

I've read most of Turow's books, and I consider this one his best.
Lukas Jackson
Can't really explain it, just took too long to get from point a to point b. Didn't care for the characters, often couldn't tell the police from the DA's.
Sd
Turow's in-depth character build and development coupled with an intriguing plot line makes for a great read!
Julie A Payne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By R. Albin TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This is Turow's best novel. Turow has taken a genre format, the legal thriller, and attempted to produce a broader psychological novel using the conventions of the genre. The central plot element is the effort of a lawyer to free a semi-retarded prisoner from Death Row. Set in Turow's fictional world of Kindle County, a fictionalized version of Chicago, the book recounts the efforts of the defense counsel, Arthur Raven, to free his client, and the equivalent efforts of the prosecuting team to sustain the conviction. Wrapped around this armature are the primary themes of the book, regret for past choices and failures, and efforts to correct past errors. All the major characters in this book are in some way haunted by prior choices in life. In the course of the story, all of them have some opportunity to revisit and rectify those errors. Some of these errors are crimes, some are ethical lapses, some are professional misconduct, some merely personal failings, and some varying combinations of all these.
Turow is a good writer. His characterizations are excellent and he has a real talent for writing dialogue. The plot of Reversible Errors is constructed well, perhaps a bit too cleverly. His primary protagonist, Arthur Raven, is an extremely sympathetic character; a bit of an everyman who succeeds on the basis of diligence and decency rather than talent.
This is an ambitious book and Turow largely succeeds in his aim of exploring regret and the consequences of unfortunate choices in life. Some parts of the book are affecting. This is probably the first of Turow's books that deserves to be classified with other works that surpass their genre such as the better novels of PD James or John Le Carre.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By R. Shaff on January 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Scott Turow's first novel, PRESUMED INNOCENT, was a blockbuster success and while his subsequent novels haven't met with the same critical success, they have been bestsellers. With REVERSIBLE ERRORS, Turow has reclaimed some of the storytelling brio found in PRESUMED INNOCENT. Unlike Grisham, Turow provides a reader with the inner workings of the law, an often bleak view of our ultimate system of judgement. Turow, who has actually practiced law from both sides of the advocate system, knows it intimately and writes about it with passion. With that, he has given the reader one of his best with REVERSIBLE ERRORS.
REVERSIBLE ERRORS begins with about 50 to 75 pages of elaborate Michener-esque scene-setting, a writing tactic that will eliminate a few readers before the story begins. However, once Turow lays the groundwork and character definitions, the plot is moving and exciting. (NOTE: I strongly urge readers to "muddle" through this background overview...you'll not be disappointed.)
The protagonist in REVERSIBLE ERRORS is attorney Arthur Raven. After working for several years as a deputy prosecuting attorney, he joined a prominent firm and has ascended to the partnership level concentrating his practice in corporate civil litigation. Turow describes Arthur as late-30's, divorced, inept with women, prematurely middle-aged, but devoted to the law with ardent passion. Arthur's idealism is severely tested when he is appointed the pro bono case of Rommy "Squirrel" Gandolph. Rommy, truly nothing more than a petty thief, was implicated and convicted a decade ago in a bloody triple murder, a murder to which he ostensibly confessed. Now Rommy is on death row awaiting imminent execution.
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 31, 2002
Format: Hardcover
With his usual flair, Turow tackles the eternally thorny question of the death penalty. One thing I love about Turow is that his novels are always caught in the midst of a larger perspective, and in this case, it's centers on questions of morality, justice, and revenge. The great thing is that this book creatively considers the subject of "reversible error," that is, when the system screws up, how does (or can it) correct itself.
Problem is, it usually doesn't, and that goes especially for cases involving the poor or retarded. If you're not a regular reader of Turow, don't fret; you can read this one as a first book if you want, since the story is intact inside this novel. What you'll find is Turow's knack for creating very vivid characters. For example, there's the tough, smart detective named Larry Staczek and an ambitious (is there any other kind?) young prosecutor Muriel Wynn who work together to get a confession and conviction of the mentally retarded thief (Rommy Gandolf) of a particularly vicious murder at a diner. But just 33 days away from his execution, Gandolf is insisting that he did not commit the murders.
Turow manages to capture the spectrum of damaged souls that inhabit the legal system, as well as interdepartmental rivalries that exist in every organization, but more so in bureaucratic ones: the angry, underappreciated cops on the front lines, the ambitious and politicized prosecutors, the important DNA and ballistics technicians, the remote and egomaniacal judges, and dragged along by the unspoken undertow of race. What we find is that mistakes are sometimes made, and when they are by the legal system, it often ruins not just one, but multiple lives. I think this is one of Turow's best, so of course I heartily recommend it.
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