Crime and punishment in Scott Turow’s Kindle County

Kindle County: Innocent by Scott TurowMore than twenty years ago, Chicago attorney Scott Turow gained a large following with a brilliant legal thriller, Presumed Innocent. In this sequel, his ninth novel, Turow updates the tale with another gripping murder mystery informed by his long experience practicing law.


Innocent (Kindle County #8) by Scott Turow

@@@@ (4 out of 5)


Innocent takes up the story of Kindle County (read Cook County) lawyer Rusty Savitch, now presiding justice on the Court of Appeals, the state’s second highest court. Rusty is engaged in a campaign for a seat on the state Supreme Court when his wife dies, suddenly, unexpectedly, and mysteriously. Rusty’s old nemesis Tommy Molto, now the county’s acting Prosecuting Attorney, prosecutes him for murder, as he had twenty years previously.

The strength of this novel, as in Turow’s previous works, lies both in the wonderful complexity of his plotting and in the sensitive portrayal of his characters’ internal dialogue. The principal cast includes Rusty’s son, a promising young attorney; his former clerk, a beautiful young woman with a crush on Rusty; the assistant Prosecuting Attorney; Rusty’s aging friend and lawyer, Sandy Stern, and his daughter, Marta, who has become her father’s law partner; as well as Rusty and Tommy. The story unwinds through the interspersed and intertwined reflections and recollections of these characters, advancing the action through a sequence of flashbacks alternately to both recent and more distant times.

The action in Innocent comes to a head in the courtroom at Rusty’s trial about midway through the book. There, the key points of contention revolve around the intricacies of pharmacology and computer programming, and Turow demonstrates the depth of his research with detail that illuminates the plot. An attentive reader might anticipate some major developments but is unlikely to guess them all. Innocent ends with a flourish.

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