Monday, March 8, 2010

Book Review: Innocent by Scott Turow

It is 20 years after Presumed Innocent (in reality as well as within the realm of this book) and Judge Rusty Sabich is again accused of murder (this time of his wife) by Tommy Molto. Innocent is a gripping legal thriller that is a great follow-up to Presumed Innocent.

Using multiple narrators including Rusty's son Nat, his lover Anna, Rusty, and Tommy, helps keeps us guessing about exactly who has done what, who knows what, and how this will play out. Mr. Turow does a good job of reminding us readers about the broad strokes of Presumed Innocent without it being too pedantic or bogging down with too much exposition. But he also manages to never reveal the ending of PI, presumably for people who have picked up Innocent first (which for me personally was a bit of a bummer as I read PI over 10 years ago and in fact don't remember the ending.) The characters are well-drawn, all of them quite flawed, with understandable motivations. I forgot that unlike his peer, Mr. Grisham (much inferior in my opinion), Mr. Turow's novels really do primarily take place in the courtroom, so the trial takes up over half the novel. The technical details are well-explained for laymen, and it keeps moving at a very brisk pace despite would could be rather dry material. Several people have compared his writing to "Law & Order", and I'd agree that's a great comparison if you think that a novel that's mostly about a court case sounds boring.

It was riveting and really kept my attention. Once I started reading it, it was very hard to put down. This will be a fantastic beach read for many this summer.

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