Do you remember where you were when you read Scott Turow's “Presumed Innocent”? It was his first novel and a bestseller that everyone seemed to be reading at once. It was 1988, I was on a long overseas flight, and when I reached my destination the combination of jet lag and curiosity led me to stay up all night finishing it. (I suffered the consequences of this sleep deprivation two days later when I nearly fell asleep in a plate of noodles...but that's another story).
Turow's book began the flood of legal thrillers that have become a staple on the bestseller lists. But I always thought that his was the best. So when I saw that he had published Innocent as a sequel I was happy to revisit Rusty Sabich. Twenty years have passed, Rusty is now a judge, and many of the same characters whom I remembered so vividly – Tommy Molto, Sandy Stern, Ray Horgan – are still crossing paths in the courthouse. And it's no spoiler to tell you that the book opens with Rusty sitting on his bed next to the dead body of his wife Barbara.
Could Turow's intricate plot twists reel me again? I am older and wiser, and this time I would surely recognize his red herrings and anticipate where he was really headed. And every time he did lead me where I had guessed he would, and then flipped things on their head before I could catch my breath. The story is rich with Turow's knowledge of the law and court procedure, but his examinations of the psyches of Rusty and Tommy add a richness and poignancy that make this story far more than just a flashy courtroom drama.