Top positive review
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"I'm consumed by longing and regret."
on May 4, 2010
Back in 1987, Scott Turow's "Presumed Innocent" created a sensation. It had all of the elements that fans of legal thrillers adore: murder, adultery, courtroom pyrotechnics, and a final twist that knocked everyone's socks off. In "Innocent," it is 2007 when Turow rejoins Rusty Sabich, who is now sixty years old and has risen to become Chief Judge of the Third District Appellate Court in Kindle County. He is hoping to run for the State Supreme Court in the near future. Unfortunately, his personal life has been far less successful than his career.
Turow keeps us off balance by going back and forth in time, changing points of view, and withholding key bits of information so that he can spring a few surprises in the final chapters. "Innocent" is an intense story of how people nurse deep-seated resentments that fester for years and do inestimable damage; of family members who are afraid to tell one another the truth; of infidelity and betrayal; and ultimately, of love and redemption. Turow's courtroom scenes are mesmerizing, and he makes the complex proceedings accessible and fascinating, even for those who know little about criminal procedure.
One quibble is that Rusty's behavior does not always ring true. He is supposedly an intelligent and self-disciplined individual who has learned something from his past mistakes, but his actions in this novel are too naïve, foolish, and self-destructive to be believed. In addition, there is a bit of contrivance in the way the author sews up the threads of his narrative. Still, Turow knows how to grab our attention and hold it, and he maintains a high level of suspense throughout this intricate tale. The sharply written and sometimes earthy dialogue as well as Turow's entertaining and often dryly humorous prose keep things moving along quickly. "Innocent," as its predecessor did more than two decades ago, demonstrates how difficult it is to mete out perfect justice in an imperfect world where so many people lie to themselves and others.