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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Presumed Innocent

**** Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow. Legal thriller.

Rusty Sabich is a prosecuting attorney. When colleague Carolyn Polhemus is murdered, his boss is in the middle of a reelection campaign, and Sabich is tasked with not only handling the case, but also ensuring that nothing disturbs his boss's campaign. Unfortunately, it's a conflict of interest, as Sabich had had an affair with her. But since nobody knows besides him and his wife, he can't say anything.

As the investigation progresses, all sorts of secrets come to light, and there are twists and turns and plenty of suspects to keep you guessing. Then Rusty himself becomes the prime suspect and not only does the reader have to guess which of the suspects did it, but also how truthful the first-person narrator is.

I absolutely loved the twists and turns and secrets and intrigue. And I particularly loved the unreliable (?) narrator. It kept me guessing and kept me turning pages. The only thing that was frustrating was the many tangents. A plot thread would just be getting good, then the subject would change abruptly and I'd be lost for a while until I got interested in the new thread--and no sooner would that happen than the subject would change again. It's funny--I read a lot of books that switch between disparate plot threads and it usually doesn't bother me in the least, but in this book it was very distracting. I haven't been able to put my finger on why that was--maybe it's something as simple as me not being prepared for it, or not being in the right mood for it.

Interestingly, I'd seen the movie and remember liking it, but I didn't connect the two until I was looking things up for this post. Even then, I had to look it up on the IMDB to refresh my memory, because it still didn't seem like the same story. I'll have to put Presumed Innocent in my Netflix queue.

I'll definitely look for more of Turow's books, though.

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They made Reversible Errors into a CBS miniseries a couple of years ago (now out on DVD) with William H. Macy doing his trademark hangdog world-weary everyman character very well.

One aspect of Turow's novels is that they're all loosely interconnected -- minor characters from one novel show up in future novels, sometimes major, sometimes minor again. It gives his Kindle County (a thinly disguised Chicago) the same feel as, say, McMurtry's Texas.
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