Thursday, December 04, 2014

What we're reading: Legal thriller

In Scott Turow's new Kindle County novel Identical, one twin is being released from prison 25 years after pleading guilty to killing his girlfriend, just as the other twin is running for mayor. The brother of the murdered girl has grown up to become a fabulously wealthy business tycoon, and he is convinced (despite the evidence and the plea bargain) that the mayoral candidate was also involved in his sister’s death. He begins a vicious ad campaign attacking the twin brothers, provoking a defamation lawsuit. Behind the scenes, the tycoon's security chief, who had been the lead investigator on the 25-year-old case, begins combing through every area of the original investigation, searching for something previously overlooked.

The book started a bit slowly, but after the major plot twist at around page 200, I paid more attention! I always like Turow's ability to surprise me, and he did that with a bang here. There was also a lot of implausible stuff that I had trouble believing, but it was definitely entertaining because of those things. The scientific evolution of evidence evaluation (highlighted by the supposedly identical DNA of twins) was fascinating, and I also liked the Greek familial context of the story.

I will just say that I did not like him using Sandy Stern and Raymond Horgan as two-bit extras in this story. Some people who reviewed this said it made them feel comfortable knowing that they were in the same universe as Turow's other books, but because Stern and Horgan weren't the stars this time, I would have preferred them to stay out of it altogether, since their introduction led me to believe they would become important later in the story, which wasn't the case. The wondering and waiting became a distraction, especially because I kept harking back to the events of the novels in which they did play lead, trying to suss out whether the timeline here would match with what happened to them in those books!

All in all, a good one, but not quite on a level with Presumed Innocent, his book against which I judge all the others!

There are copies of this book at all three libraries, and we also offer the audio book and the e-book.

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