Cover image of "Suspect," an urban crime thriller

As I write, Scott Turow is seventy-three years old. He is an accomplished attorney and bestselling author of sixteen books, most of them bestsellers. He possesses a law degree from Harvard University. So, one might think he would stumble badly building a novel around a poorly educated, twenty-something, bisexual woman covered with tattoos and wearing a nail in her nose. Now, since I’m straight and even older than Scott Turow, I might be a poor judge of his ability to pull this off. But I don’t think so. And Turow’s protagonist, Clarice “Pinky” Granum, emerges from the pages of the novel Suspect in three dimensions and fully credible. With Pinky narrating the tale, this urban crime thriller is suspenseful, convincing, and entertaining, all at the same time. Turow has produced another winner.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

The police chief is accused of soliciting sex from her officers

Having flunked out of the Kindle County Police Academy for smoking pot, Pinky works as a private investigator for attorney Rik Dudek. He’s a small-time lawyer in the suburban town of Highland Isle, which lies just outside the border of Kindle County. And when the town’s chief of police is in legal trouble, she turns to Rik, a childhood friend. Three male police officers have accused Chief Lucia Gomez-Barrera of soliciting sex from them in exchange for promotion. The chief is certain that a corrupt multimillionaire local developer, Moritz (“The Ritz”) Vojczek, has contrived the charges in an effort to force her out of office. Little do Rik and Pinky know that this case will consume them both for months on end and threaten Pinky’s life in the process.

Suspect by Scott Turow (2022) 464 pages ★★★★★

Aerial photo of an industrial park like the one in this urban crime thriller
Aerial view of an industrial park like the one at the center of the plot in Scott Turow’s novel. Image: Mary Campbell – The Business Journals

An urban crime thriller that fits neatly into Turow’s Kindle County universe

Turow’s tale lies squarely in the Kindle County universe of most of his twelve previous novels. Pinky’s grandfather is Alejandro “Sandy” Stern, the brilliant Argentinean defense lawyer who figures prominently in Turow’s first novel, Presumed Innocent, and many of the subsequent books. (“I was a paralegal in my grandfather’s law office before Pops closed shop. He and my aunt represented all the richest crooks in the Tri-Cities.”) And as Pinky and Rik’s investigation proceeds, numerous comparisons between the police corruption in Kindle County and its relative lack in Highland Isle become evident.

However, Highland Isle sports its own high-profile crook in the person of The Ritz. The owner of large slabs of real estate throughout the town, Moritz Vojczek is reputed to be worth $300 million. Apparently he deals drugs on a huge scale, though he has never prosecuted for the crime. And he secretly holds a large interest in the huge industrial park recently built on the edge of the community. It’s the site of a major defense contractor. And soon Pinky discovers that something unsavory is going on there. Suspecting The Ritz may be involved in espionage, she sets up surveillance of the site. And that in turn attracts the attention of federal agents. Soon, it’s clear that the charges against Highland Isle’s police chief are a distraction. Something really ugly is going on. And both Pinky and Rik may lose their lives as the case drags on.

About the author

Photo of Scott Turow, author of this urban crime thriller
Scott Turow. Image: Wikipedia

Scott Turow is both an attorney and a bestselling author. He has written thirteen novels and three works of nonfiction. His first book, published in 1977, was One L, which chronicled his first year at Harvard Law School and made a big splash when it appeared. But he is better known for his novels about an intersecting group of lawyers and judges in fictional Kindle County, a stand-in for Illinois’ Cook County (Chicago). His first novel, Presumed Innocent in 1987, established his reputation as one of the country’s leading authors of legal thrillers. Four of his novels have been produced as feature films.

Turow was born in Chicago in 1949. He is a graduate of Amherst College and was a fellow in creative writing at Stanford University for two years after his graduation in 1970. Turow received his JD from Harvard University in 1978. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for several years, prosecuting several high-profile corruption cases in Illinois.

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