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Presumed Innocent/Scott Turow

Scott Turow is an American best-selling author and this is his first novel published in 1987.

It draws from his experience as a Public Attorney in Chicago and is very much a book by a lawyer for lawyers.  This said he has a gift for characterisation and writing.

He was described to me by the person that recommended it to me as the thinking person’s John Grisham.

The plot is complex.

Rudy Savich, the narrator, is a deputy Public Attorney in Kindle County. His boss, Raymond Horgan the District Attorney, is standing for re-election.

His opponent is Nico della Guardia. Another deputy Carolyn Polhemus is murdered in what appears to be a sex crime.

Rusty was having an affaire with her.

After Raymond Horgan loses, Savich is taken off the case and charged with murder.

The evidence against him is that his fingerprints are on a glass, his sperm detected in her diaphragm, carpet fibres are found from his home at the scene of crime and he called Carolyn before she was murdered.

Nico della Guardia is the Prosecutor and Savich engages an Argentinian lawyer Alejandro Sandy Stern to defend him.

Stern undermines much of the evidence. The presiding judge Lyttle is clearly against the Prosecution.

Savich believes he was set up but the big reveal comes after he is acquitted.

One definition of a bore is someone who has to go into every detail.

Turow in the trial section of the novel that dominates its 450-odd pages describes the meaning and justification of every trial manoeuvre which slows down the narrational pace.

Also written over 30 years ago the attitudes to black peoples and women feels dated.  Against this, Turow is well informed on judicial politics and sloppy police procedure.

My friend is right.

There is more to this than a tautly-plotted but improbable John Grisham novel.

About Melanie Gay

A former literary agent with three published novels of her own, Melanie retains her life-long love of the written word and recently mastered the Kindle. She is currently writing a historical novel set in 17th Century Britain and Holland. More Posts