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Personal Injuries (Scott Turow) Hardcover – October 7, 1999

3.3 out of 5 stars 274 customer reviews

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Amazon.com Review

Scott Turow has always pushed himself beyond the expectations of readers and critics. In Presumed Innocent (1987), he introduced fictional Kindle County and ushered in the era that spawned such mega-authors as John Grisham, Richard North Patterson, and David Baldacci. In Personal Injuries, Turow continues to innovate on legal fiction, but his achievement this time is not gained through clever plot twists (though there are several) or intense legal action (though there is much of that too). The achievement of mastery this time is via exquisitely drawn, Faulknerian characters--attorney Robbie Feaver, agent Evon Miller, U.S. Attorney Stan Sennett, and Justice Brendan Tuohey--whose lives become the driving mystery at the core of the book.

The novel begins with Robbie Feaver seeking counsel from the narrator, attorney George Mason. For years, Feaver has been bribing several judges in the Common Law Claims Division to win favorable judgments. Now that U.S. Attorney Stan Sennett has uncovered Feaver's dirty little secret, he wants to use Feaver to get at the man he believes to be at the center of all the legal corruption in the metropolitan area, Brendan Tuohey, Presiding Judge of Common Law Claims and heir apparent to the Chief Justice of Kindle County Superior Court. With Mason as an advisor, Robbie assists Sennett and his team of FBI undercover agents in crafting a massive sting operation that involves an FBI-manufactured lawyer named "James McManis," a cast of fictional clients, and "Evon Miller"--a deep cover agent (and former Olympic athlete)--who poses as Robbie's paralegal and paramour.

With a skill rarely found in genre fiction, Turow composes his narrative with variations on several recurring themes. The novel ripples with paranoia as the FBI enshrouds the legal community of Kindle County in a web of tapped phones, concealed cameras, and wired spies.

At the center of indirection sit Robbie and Evon. The pair dance through an elegant game of erotically-charged hide and seek: Robbie the practiced liar and former actor, and Evon, the agent whose whole life must remain a fiction if she is to survive. At their best, legal thrillers leave readers confronting the core of their values and perceptions of legal and moral rectitude. Personal Injuries is the legal thriller at its very best. --Patrick O'Kelley

From Publishers Weekly

Unlike most of his fellow lawyer-novelists, Turow has always been more interested in character than plot, and in Robbie Feaver, a lawyer on the make who ends up fighting for his life, he has created his richest and most compelling figure yet. For years, Robbie has been paying off judges and squirreling away part of the riches he earns as a highly successful trial lawyer. When the IRS happens upon the money trail, and a top prosecutor leans on him to turn state's evidence and finger some of the corrupt justices, Robbie calls on George Mason, veteran Kindle County lawyer, to represent him and win the best deal he can. A complicating element in the case is Evon Miller, Mormon-born FBI agent in deep undercover, who is assigned to watch Feaver and finds herself, against her better inclinations, drawn to himAfor Feaver is a character of almost Shakespearean contradictions. A charming, brash womanizer who nevertheless shows superhuman reserves of love and patience to his dying wife at home, he is always several jumps ahead of the prosecutors, the FBI and the reader, winning sympathy, even admiration, where there should be none. This patient account is fascinatingly detailed in the ways of the law and the justice system, of how Robbie zeroes in on the biggest target of all, only to be trumped at the last moment. It is also a deeply understanding look, in its portrait of Evon, of the motives that drive a solitary woman into police work (Thomas Harris's Clarice seems shallow by comparison). There are some remarkable narrative strategiesATurow deftly alternates a first-person and omniscient-author point of view, for exampleAbut readers will not be concerned with technical details, only with the rare revelation of a paradoxical personality so compelling he makes the very adroit plot almost superfluous. 750,000 first printing; $500,000 ad/promo; first serial to Playboy; BOMC main selection; QPB selection; 9-city author tour; paperback rights to Warner; simultaneous Random House audio. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 1st trade ed edition (October 7, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374281947
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374281946
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #310,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on February 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It is amazing how many people missed the boat on this one. The very first review says it all. "Personal Injuries" isn't about plot or story line or fast pace or excitement or courtroom drama.
As I read the book I kept waiting for something to happen until I realized that something was happening. I was watching an author create a cast of characters who peopled any room I read this book in. Exquisitely drawn and beautifully built as seen through the eyes of not the first person narrator but the main character Robbie Feaver (pronounced "favor" as he tells us).
Further, Turow's portrayal of ALS and its effect on family members as well as the victim is heartbreaking. Such sadness!
Turow also leads us into the dark world of witness protection, the FBI and the battle of jurisdiction, political ambition and political medelling, etc.
Well done, Mr. Turow. Some of us understood where you were going and what you were doing.
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Format: Hardcover
Scott Turow does not write John Grisham novels. Many of us who read Turow read him because he doesn't churn out the the lowbrow, predictable pablum of other popular genre writers. Personal Injuries is magnificent - filled with complex, multi-faceted characters who are never entirely good or evil but, like most of us, somewhere in-between. The character of Robbie Feaver kept surprising me and challenging my initial perceptions (kinda like some of the people in my own life, how 'bout that!). I found the plot involving corrupt judges to be absolutely compelling and helped immeasurably by Turow's obvious experience with similar circumstances. I finished the novel last night and couldn't help but weep while reading the final 20 pages. Not only did I find the conclusion moving but the novel and the challenges of its characters left me with questions about my own life to think about. Now, what more could I ask of a piece of fiction?
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Format: Hardcover
"Personal Injuries" is actually the first Scott Turow novel I've read and I'm thoroughly impressed. From reading some of the other customer reviews, I've gathered that it doesn't follow the same format as the other books that made Turow famous. These reviewers are actually faulting the author for this. I would advise these morons to start on the John Grisham catalogue. Why do they think Scott Turow takes his time writing his novels? BECAUSE HE'S TRYING TO ACHIEVE A HIGHER STANDARD. And he succeeds immeasurably with "Personal Injuries". No, it's not a book filled with twists and turns, nor is it a legal "thriller" chock full of courtroom drama. It's a study of the legal profession itself with layers upon layers of brilliant characterization to keep the intelligent reader riveted until the end. In Robbie Feaver, Scott Turow has created one of the most memorable, intriguing characters I've ever read. He's an arrogant, enigmatic, law-breaking, rationalizing liar of a lawyer, but you just gotta love him. And that's exactly what this book is about -- understanding and forgiving the inherent flaws of humanity. It sounds like a lofty theme for a "lawyer's story" as Turow's narrator calls it, but Turow strikes the heart of it beautifully. At the finish, the reader is left pondering the imponderable hierarchy of values of the law. If you enjoy a thinking man's story (or if you just plain have a genuine admiration for great writing), don't miss this amazing, utterly believable, immensely enjoyable book.
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Format: Hardcover
Do you like legal thrillers, but are you somehow haunted by the belief that John Grisham doesn't really know what it's like to be a lawyer? Are you a patient reader? If the answer is yes to both questions, then this book is for you. The book, which involves a federal investigation into a corrupt judiciary scheme takes place in Turow's fictional Kindle County. We meet Robbie Feaver as he is coerced into cooperating with the investigation. The book takes off slowly and at the beginning, I confess I really did not like the book all that much. It was a little dry and sometimes had the look and feel of a legal memo (which are not that exciting, and if you've never read one, trust me on this). There was something that kept me reading and I am glad I did. I think it may have simply been the fact that the characters and what they do are truly realistic. As the book continues, Turow throws in some interesting, and yet still believable plot twists. His characters, at least the main ones are fairly multidimensional and the world they live in not all black and white, good and evil, but shades of grey. Robbie is not the most likable character, but is ultimately sympathetic. His choices, like those of the other characters, were not always good ones, but he is human. All in all this is an enjoyable novel if you have the patience to stick throught the first 100 pages or so.
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Format: Hardcover
I agree with other reviewers who said this is slow going. Don't expect a thriller that takes 2 hours to read. I've been slogging away for days, although overall I enjoyed it. Not since Shuuuuhman McCoy (Bonfire of the Vanities) have I read such a memorable portrait of a flawed main character. My favorite part of the book was Turow's incredible creation of Robbie Feaver. At times you'll hate him, at times you'll sympathize with him. His absolute egoism combined with his sensivity and personal values make him fascinating as a character study.
Turow provides such a detailed legal background that it almost overwhelms the reader. I can't help but think this book would have been stronger if it were a tad less overburdened by realistic details. Still, Turow does all his research and gives many readers a feel for the cruelest disease, ALS. The other villains and heroes are all interesting creations and well described. If you like intricate legal books, you won't be able to put this one down. You'll need to carry it around for awhile though to finish it.
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