Friday, March 08, 2013

Innocent by Scott Turlow (Spoiler Alert)

The latest book for me has been Innocent by Scott Turow. Goodreads link is here: It is one of those John Grisham style legal thrillers so if you are a fan of legal thrillers or John Grisham, chances are you will like to read this book. It even says so on the cover “As gripping as Grisham”. Or at least it says so on my copy of the book, and I happen to agree with this assessment.

However, I would say that I am not in a very good position to make a neutral or proper assessment of this book because when I like opened the first page of this book I discovered that this book is actually a sequel to a book written around twenty years ago called “Presumed Innocent”. I knew that reading a book that has a sequel to it is going to be a bit on the irritating side but as it was a legal thriller and described to be “As gripping as Grisham”, I decided to give it a try. Seriously though, I wonder if it would kill the publisher if they could just list on the cover that the book is a sequel.

So, Scott Turow happens to be an author who writes legal thrillers. He is also a practicing lawyer at the same time. And now I have learnt that all, or at least most, of Scott Turow’s books are actually part of one book series or another. So he has a few books series going on simultaneously, all based in Kindle County.

Now because this book was part of a sequel, there was no background information on the characters at all or any kind of introduction about who is who. For this reason, I had to wait until I reached somewhere towards the middle of the book before I could figure out the essential information and details necessary on the characters.

So, Turow has amazing describing power. I just love the way he describes people. It always gave me a good laugh. My two favourite descriptions have to be, “he had flesh under his eyes that looked like used tea bags” and “my duck of a wife”.

Anyways, we meet (or are re-introduced, I guess) to Rusty who is a judge planning to run in the elections for a judgeship on the state supreme court. He has a wife who has some psychological problems as she is battling both bipolar disorder and depression and is on a crapton of medicines because of it. They have a son, Nat, who has recently graduated law school.

Rusty, unhappy with his life, ends up having an affair with a former law clerk of his who is much younger than him. Like twenty years younger or something. But after a few months he feels guilty and ends the affair. About fifteen months that happened, Rusty then finds himself charged with the murder of his wife. Rusty waited one day to report the death of his wife to the police, which results in the prosecuting lawyer, Tommy, who has a personal vendetta against Rusty to start snooping around.

Just like a John Grisham book, we got to bear witness to the courtroom drama that occurs. Witnesses being interrogated. Sensitive questions being asked. Things having to be rephrased just so that they can be asked. Both sides trying to bend the case in their own favour. And the plotting and the planning that goes on behind the scenes in order to win the case. Yes, I really do enjoy reading courtroom drama.  

Rusty is accused of murdering his wife but the prosecution has a very hard time proving it. The defence is claiming that it was a suicide. To use lawyer-speak, all the evidence is circumstantial and there is absolutely no way that the murder can be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. Due to certain events in the courtroom, Rusty agrees to go to jail for two years on obstruction of justice charges. But when it is discovered that the evidence has been tampered with, Rustry is freed and presumed innocent. What really happened to Rusty’s wife is revealed in the end, and that is very interesting.

In conclusion, despite this book being a sequel and having to struggle with it initially due to that I really enjoyed reading the book and recommend it. However, readers on Goodreads have indicated that this book is like nothing compared to its predecessor “Presumed Innocent” saying that the original first book was much better. But as I have not read the original, I can not say anything in that regard myself.

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