Presumed Innocent

Scott Turow, Author
Scott Turow, Author Farrar Straus Giroux $35 (448p) ISBN 978-0-374-23713-4
Reviewed on: 06/26/1987
Release date: 07/01/1987
Chicago defense attorney Turow, formerly a U.S. prosecutor, capitalizes on his intimate knowledge of the courtroom in an impressive first novel that matches Anatomy of a Murder in its intensity and verisimilitude. With the calculating genius of a good lawyer (and writer), Turow, author of the nonfiction One L, draws the reader into a grittily realistic portrait of big city political corruption that climaxes with a dramatic murder trial in which every dark twist of legal statute and human nature is convincingly revealed. The novel's present tense puts the reader firmly in the mind of narrator Rusty Sabich, a married prosecuting attorney whose affair with a colleague comes back to haunt him after she is brutally raped and murdered. Sabich's professional and personal lives begin to mingle painfully when he becomes the accused. His is a gripping and provocative dilemma: ""Sitting in court, I actually forget who is on trial at certain moments. . . . And once we get back to the office, I can be a lawyer again, attacking the books, making notes and memos.'' Turow's ability to forge the reader's identification with the protagonist, his insightful characterizations of Sabich's legal colleagues and the overwhelming sense he conveys of being present in the courtroom are his most brilliant and satisfying contributions to what may become a literary crime classic. 125,000 first printing; $125,000 ad/promo; movie rights to Sidney Pollack; Literary Guild dual selection; author tour. (July 15)
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