Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book Review > "Innocent" by Scott Turow

406 pp
Other books by Scott Turow
  • Limitations
  • Ordinary Heroes
  • Ultimate Punishment
  • Reversible Errors
  • Personal Injuries
  • The Laws of Our Fathers
  • Pleading Guilty
  • The Burden of Proof
  • Presumed Innocent
  • One L

This book had 3 distinct story parts:

1. A love affair between an aging judge & a young lawyer
2. A court case
3. The relationship between a father & son

There are only a few characters in this book; the main ones are father, son, lover, DA.

For me, the core of this book is the relationship between the father and the son; both lawyers. The father, a well known & respected Prosecutor & Judge, about to be elevated from the Court of Appeals to the Superior Court, finds himself deliciously & troublingly embroiled in a great love affair and has to confront his demons.

That confrontation unfolds in a courtroom as Judge Rusty Sabich, once accused & acquitted of a prior murder charge, is again charged of murder; this time of his own wife.

The prosecutor's explanation of the murder plot takes shape as the reader is follows step by step through the logical questioning of the Judge and as he testifies to those questions put to him by the current DA, his prior & current nemesis. Of course, there are two sides to every court case & the defense side is just as convincing.

In the beginning of this novel Turow provides the back story of the prior murder charges (& acquittal) brought by Tommy Molto against Rusty Sabich; details not permitted into evidence at the second trial for fear of prejudicing the jury. It also puts the reader on the the emotional roller coaster that is the intimate & sincere love affair between Rusty & Anna. As a senior citizen, myself, reading about this sexy love affair produced some longing in me. Of course, it is immoral by our puritanical social standards but it is also very real, desirable and special for both participants. Unfortunately, it could never have ended well and didn't.

Nevertheless this secret affair, to all except the participants, plays a pivotal role in Rusty's wife's demise and the strengthening of Rusty's  relationship with Nat, his  overshadowed son (who is clerking in the Superior Court), and who hasn't quite found his place in life when the story begins.

The dialog between father & son seems haltingly genuine as does the court testimony and other relationships in the book. None was a real stretch for this reader. It all seemed so credible, thanks to the author's talent. It will probably make an excellent movie one day.

I consider "Innocent" a thoroughly enjoyable read; once I got into it, I could hardly put it down. For anyone who likes a process piece, like a CSI or seeing how lawyers present opposing views of the same evidence, this is a definite read. I'm giving it 4 out of 5 stars.