18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Turow brings it to life. Impressive offering.,
This review is from: Reversible Errors: A Novel (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. Arthur's appointment comes as Rommy, with his last appeal gone, is repudiating his confession and insisting on his innocence. Since the appeal process only allows points of law to be the subject of review, Arthur's only hope is to find "reversible error" in Rommy's trial and conviction. Turow defines reversible error for the reader as "error sufficiently egregious as to render capital punishment unjust and excessive."
Arthur knows the battle is virtually impossible until another prisoner, Erno Erdai, writes a letter to the judge who presided over Rommy's original trial. The judge, Gillian Sullivan, has just been released from a federal prison for women after being convicted of 'selling judgement.' After Arthur reluctantly agrees to interview Erdai (with the help of former Judge Sullivan), he realizes that, in fact, Rommy may be innocent.
The plot and climax of the book are solid and exciting. There is plenty of diverting suspense providing several tense and somewhat anxious moments. With REVERSIBLE ERRORS, Turow proves his understanding of the proper weave of legal jargon and tactics into "lay" jargon. With the exception of the opening descriptive "essay," REVERSIBLE ERRORS is a thoroughly enjoyable read.