Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Scott Turow: "Innocent" - Old character, new troubles: This time, it's his wife

Scott Turow (New book out - same famous "INNOCENT" character)

Find article here

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Scott Turow brings back his blockbuster characters: lawyer-writer weaves stories from wisps of L.A. life.

"Innocent" by Scott Turow; Grand Central. 406 pp. $27.99

Not again!

The last time lawyer Rusty Sabich had an affair, in Scott Turow's best-selling 1987 fiction debut, "Presumed Innocent," he ended up on trial for the murder of his mistress.

Rusty, now an appellate judge and candidate for the state supreme court, has strayed again. And whammo, he's back on the docket, accused of homicide.

Will this guy never learn?

This time, Rusty's wife is dead. An inherited heart condition, he says. But his old adversary, prosecutor Tommy Molto, wonders why Rusty waited 24 hours to notify anyone of her death. Could he have been waiting for traces of incriminating evidence to vanish from the corpus delicti?

The case, for obvious reasons, gets attention even beyond Turow's fictional stomping grounds, Kindle County (read Chicago):

"The sheer oddity of a supreme court justice-elect indicted for murder a second time, and by the same prosecutor, no less, has garnered press around the globe."

This sequel may be belated, but it's worth the wait.

The writing is elegant, the characters lived-in, and the legal and trial details expertly rendered. It's the suspense, though, that will keep you reading.

The narrative perspective and timeline jump around - first person for Rusty, his mistress, and his adult son; third person for Molto. None is perfectly reliable. They all have their prejudices and agendas.

Turow's neatest trick is to plant small inconsistencies or omissions in their accounts. These pockets of doubt allow readers the satisfaction of detecting weaknesses and contradictions in the case before the characters do.

When Rusty's son, Nat, observes during the trial, "Molto is doing a great job of harping on the little pieces of evidence that have nagged at me all along," you're thinking, "Ha! I was aware of all that 30 pages ago."

"Innocent" has a curiously unsatisfying resolution, but until that late stumble, it's a breathtaking sprint.

Also see "Death Penalty News and Updates" with Rick Halperin for another story on Turow and find an interview and more on Turow on a number of Law sites...

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