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Presumed Innocent

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Hailed as the most suspenseful and compelling novel in decades. Presumed Innocent brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of all crimes. It's the stunning portrayal of one man's all-too-human, all-consuming fatal attraction for a passionate woman who is not his wife, and the story of how his obsession puts eve Hailed as the most suspenseful and compelling novel in decades. Presumed Innocent brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of all crimes. It's the stunning portrayal of one man's all-too-human, all-consuming fatal attraction for a passionate woman who is not his wife, and the story of how his obsession puts everything he loves and values on trial—including his own life. It's a book that lays bare a shocking world of betrayal and murder, as well as the hidden depths of the human heart. And it will hold you and haunt you ... long after you have reached its shattering conclusion.


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Hailed as the most suspenseful and compelling novel in decades. Presumed Innocent brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of all crimes. It's the stunning portrayal of one man's all-too-human, all-consuming fatal attraction for a passionate woman who is not his wife, and the story of how his obsession puts eve Hailed as the most suspenseful and compelling novel in decades. Presumed Innocent brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of all crimes. It's the stunning portrayal of one man's all-too-human, all-consuming fatal attraction for a passionate woman who is not his wife, and the story of how his obsession puts everything he loves and values on trial—including his own life. It's a book that lays bare a shocking world of betrayal and murder, as well as the hidden depths of the human heart. And it will hold you and haunt you ... long after you have reached its shattering conclusion.

30 review for Presumed Innocent

  1. 5 out of 5

    Supratim

    This is one of the best books that I have read recently. It is a great legal thriller cum murder mystery. No wonder the book finds mention in both the top 100 mystery/crime novel lists published by the Britain-based Crime Writers' Association and by the Mystery Writers of America. Both the lists were published in the nineties and feature some of the finest specimens of crime writing. The lists can be found here - Link The story is narrated by Rozat K. Sabich aka Rusty, chief deputy prosecutor of This is one of the best books that I have read recently. It is a great legal thriller cum murder mystery. No wonder the book finds mention in both the top 100 mystery/crime novel lists published by the Britain-based Crime Writers' Association and by the Mystery Writers of America. Both the lists were published in the nineties and feature some of the finest specimens of crime writing. The lists can be found here - Link The story is narrated by Rozat K. Sabich aka Rusty, chief deputy prosecutor of Kindle county who is also the protagonist. The story begins with the murder of Carolyn, another prosecuting attorney, with whom Rusty had an affair and never got over his obsession of her. Rusty gets the responsibility of investigating the crime but himself ends up getting accused of the murder and faces trial. The book features some really great court room scenes, complex characters and portrays so many human emotions and frailties. Illicit passion, betrayal, corruption, dirty politics, jealousy, friendship, paternal feelings, family bonds - everything finds a place in the story. The author has also explained quite a few legal technicalities which makes it easier for the reader to understand some of the complexities of the trial. The mystery is excellent and the very few would be able to guess the identity of the culprit. Rusty, accustomed to putting criminals behind bars, is now the accused and feels how is it to be on the other side. He talks about his obsession with Carolyn, his childhood, his strained relationship with his wife, his fear of missing out his son's childhood if he is sent to prison. Some of his ramblings is actually a bit boring and do not fit in the story.The author's use of the English language is impressive but somehow I felt at times it was not compatible with the character or the story. e.g. a person, who is a prosecutor not a poet, facing a murder charge is unlikely to use phrases like "doors and windows of my soul are thrown open to a fundamental gratitude". It is my only criticism of the novel. The book is not just a thriller but Scott Turow's attempt to explore the intricacies of the human mind and he has done a commendable job. I would recommend the book to lovers of legal thrillers, murder mysteries, psychological thrillers if he/she does not mind the ramblings of the protagonist.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin (from Long Island, NY)

    Now i get what all the praise is about! If anything i enjoyed it more than i had hoped, even after reading its accolades. I mean what else can i say?! It deserves all it got! & imo it's still in a league of its own, so many years (& great legal thrillers) later. But i do really want to recommend the audiobook. The narrator was exceptional!! You could feel the tension. It's a long 1 (about 16 hours) but i genuinely wasn't bored for a second. I felt like i could close my eyes & be IN that courtroo Now i get what all the praise is about! If anything i enjoyed it more than i had hoped, even after reading its accolades. I mean what else can i say?! It deserves all it got! & imo it's still in a league of its own, so many years (& great legal thrillers) later. But i do really want to recommend the audiobook. The narrator was exceptional!! You could feel the tension. It's a long 1 (about 16 hours) but i genuinely wasn't bored for a second. I felt like i could close my eyes & be IN that courtroom! So good. So smart. If anything, I'm actually in mourning now that its over. I know i can't possibly expect the entire series to be this extraordinary but I'm still super excited that there's more.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Manny

    I had this weird dream last night. I was at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and... here, let me give you my reconstruction... HILLARY CLINTON: [on podium, in front of huge crowd] And now, our prosecutor is going to read out a list of indictments against my opponent, Donald Trump. I want you all to say whether you think he's innocent or... GUILTY! PROSECUTOR: Thank you Hillary. Let's get started. Indictment one: sexual assault. Jill Harth recently accused Donald Trump o I had this weird dream last night. I was at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and... here, let me give you my reconstruction... HILLARY CLINTON: [on podium, in front of huge crowd] And now, our prosecutor is going to read out a list of indictments against my opponent, Donald Trump. I want you all to say whether you think he's innocent or... GUILTY! PROSECUTOR: Thank you Hillary. Let's get started. Indictment one: sexual assault. Jill Harth recently accused Donald Trump of sexually assaulting her in 1997. Do you think he's innocent or guilty? MAN IN CROWD: Some parts of her story ring true, but she's changed it a lot of times. WOMAN IN CROWD: Yeah, it's hard to know what's going on. SECOND MAN IN CROWD: And it's all hearsay. PROSECUTOR: So, what do we think? CROWD: Presumed innocent! PROSECUTOR: I can't hear you. CROWD: PRESUMED INNOCENT!! PROSECUTOR: Thank you, that's a great answer! And now, indictment two: rape. Katie Johnson, in another recent deposition, claimed that "she was subject to extreme sexual and physical abuse by Donald J. Trump and Jeffrey E. Epstein, including forcible rape during a four month time span, when she was still only a minor of age 13." What do we think? Innocent or guilty? MAN IN CROWD: This is hearsay too! WOMAN IN CROWD: But she does have a witness, "Tiffany Doe". SECOND MAN IN CROWD: It could be politically motivated though. Hard to tell. All the same, she should have her day in court. PROSECUTOR: So, what do we think? CROWD: Presumed innocent! PROSECUTOR: I can't hear you. CROWD: PRESUMED INNOCENT!! PROSECUTOR: You're all such terrific guys! So, indictment three: fraud and racketeering. Donald Trump's "Trump University" is the subject of several lawsuits, including two class action suits filed in California and one filed in New York by then-attorney general Eric Schneiderman. The many petitioners claim that they were swindled out of sums of up to $60,000 dollars in exchange for courses that were essentially worthless. What do we think? Innocent or guilty? MAN IN CROWD: You gotta admit there's a lot of evidence. WOMAN IN CROWD: I read the playbook when the judge ruled that it could be released. Disgusting. SECOND MAN IN CROWD: But let's not get ahead of ourselves. I need to hear the other side before I make up my mind. And hey, caveat emptor. PROSECUTOR: So, what do we want? CROWD: Due process! PROSECUTOR: I can't hear you. CROWD: DUE PROCESS! PROSECUTOR: I still can't hear you. CROWD: DUE PROCESS!!! [A chant starts up] One, two, three, four We must all respect the law! Six, seven, eight, nine Stay the right side of the line! HILLARY CLINTON: Thank you, thank you, thank you! See, that's the America I'm fighting for. A country where the rule of law is paramount, where due process is respected, and where everyone is presumed innocent until they're proven guilty. Even Donald Trump.

  4. 4 out of 5

    S.P. Aruna

    First of all, I was more than surprised to find out that Turow came before Grisham. This book was published in 1987 while Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill came out a year later, and actually encouraged Grisham to embark on a writing career. Presumed Innocent is a well crafted blend of mystery and legal thriller. The plot has many twists and turns and the reader is empathizing with Rusty Sabich all the way. It has great court room scenes, sharp dialogue, and good character development, filled First of all, I was more than surprised to find out that Turow came before Grisham. This book was published in 1987 while Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill came out a year later, and actually encouraged Grisham to embark on a writing career. Presumed Innocent is a well crafted blend of mystery and legal thriller. The plot has many twists and turns and the reader is empathizing with Rusty Sabich all the way. It has great court room scenes, sharp dialogue, and good character development, filled with all the saucy human emotions and foibles that fiction readers savor - forbidden passion, betrayal, corruption, nasty local politics, and bitter jealousy. Despite continuing on in his writing, this debut novel probably remains as Turow's best.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Richard

    7/10 An enjoyable legal thriller that really hits it stride in the courtroom and less so in the bits outside of the courtroom. I thought it was an interesting, and quite novel, idea to set the first pages after the murder has occurred and then fill in the blanks as you go along. A lot of back story was needed to get the reader up to speed and this is when things were a little slow and sometimes less interesting with the political campaign less absorbing but we know what is just around the corner. 7/10 An enjoyable legal thriller that really hits it stride in the courtroom and less so in the bits outside of the courtroom. I thought it was an interesting, and quite novel, idea to set the first pages after the murder has occurred and then fill in the blanks as you go along. A lot of back story was needed to get the reader up to speed and this is when things were a little slow and sometimes less interesting with the political campaign less absorbing but we know what is just around the corner. When the story gets into the courtroom the book was hard to put down. The dialogue flowed with ease and there were many times when you were keen to just read that next chapter to find out what was going to happen instead of going to sleep. Whilst the solution to the murder and side plots weren't all that great in the end it had some of the best courtroom interrogations I've read in a long time. If only the whole story was as tight as those scenes this would have been much higher rated overall. Worth a read if this is a genre you're interested in. If you enjoy this try: "The Lincoln Lawyer" by Michael Connelly

  6. 5 out of 5

    Scott Rhee

    I met Scott Turow when he came to visit my college to promote "Presumed Innocent", which I thought was a great book at the time. I haven't read it in almost 20 years (Christ, has it been that long since I was in college?), but I remember some of the details in his writing that made him stand out from all the other best-selling thriller writers out there, most notably John Grisham. Both of them were inevitably compared to each other because of their courtroom settings and knowledge of the legal p I met Scott Turow when he came to visit my college to promote "Presumed Innocent", which I thought was a great book at the time. I haven't read it in almost 20 years (Christ, has it been that long since I was in college?), but I remember some of the details in his writing that made him stand out from all the other best-selling thriller writers out there, most notably John Grisham. Both of them were inevitably compared to each other because of their courtroom settings and knowledge of the legal profession, but Turow was generally trying to do something different than Grisham. It's Turow's details (his naturalistic dialogue, his attempts to flesh out minor characters, his reflections into the darkness of the human condition) that I appreciated more from a writer's perspective and that I probably recall better than the actual plot, which was, if I recall correctly, a seemingly run-of-the-mill whodunnit.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    I recently re-read this, and it's still wonderful. The writing is sharp and brooding, and the plotting is superb. I recently re-read this, and it's still wonderful. The writing is sharp and brooding, and the plotting is superb.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Davyne DeSye

    This is a terrific murder mystery, as well as being a fun legal thriller. Having spent decades as a lawyer, I often find that books featuring lawyers, the law, and courtroom scenes often contain errors – and this one doesn’t! (It completely messes with my suspension of disbelief if in legal fiction, I end up thinking, “That wouldn’t have been allowed.”) I picked this book up because I recently re-watched the movie (which I love)… and there was one area in the movie that – while not wrong or impos This is a terrific murder mystery, as well as being a fun legal thriller. Having spent decades as a lawyer, I often find that books featuring lawyers, the law, and courtroom scenes often contain errors – and this one doesn’t! (It completely messes with my suspension of disbelief if in legal fiction, I end up thinking, “That wouldn’t have been allowed.”) I picked this book up because I recently re-watched the movie (which I love)… and there was one area in the movie that – while not wrong or impossible – made me cock my head to one side and raise an eyebrow. Hmm, I thought. I wonder if that’s Hollywood or the way it was written? Happily, I enjoyed the book very much (in addition to getting the answer to my question – Hollywood cut one very small scene, which, if included, would have kept my eyebrow firmly in place, but which, honestly, to anyone but a lawyer is really not needed). The mystery (even though I knew the answer) was well played out, the characters were fully fleshed out and the writing was smooth. The author does a great job of keeping the legal aspects clear and understandable to the layman. In this story, Rusty Sabich, is a prosecuting attorney. When one of his colleagues, Carolyn Polhemus is murdered, he is put in charge of the investigation. Rusty is torn, professionally and personally, by Carolyn’s death – because not too long before the murder, they had had an affair. Even worse, every bit of evidence they have about the murderer is pointing to Rusty being the culprit… Fantastic stuff. I must say, the Rusty character in the book is not quite the tower of strength Harrison Ford portrays in the movie, but naturally, the book is much richer in details of the different characters’ motivations and the legal process. The movie does an excellent job of rendering the story, but if you want to delve a little deeper, this book will deliver. Highly recommended to lovers of legal thrillers! True rating: 4.5 stars.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rob

    Book 1 of the Kindle County series. For the most part this was a well constructed courtroom thriller. I say “for the most part” for there were aspects of the book that I had some problems with. Much of the dialogue was written in the local vernacular, which is all well and fine if the reader is conversant with the local vernacular but if not it was a bit like reading a foreign language at times. But apart from that, as I said earlier, it’s a clever, well constructed courtroom thriller. The premise Book 1 of the Kindle County series. For the most part this was a well constructed courtroom thriller. I say “for the most part” for there were aspects of the book that I had some problems with. Much of the dialogue was written in the local vernacular, which is all well and fine if the reader is conversant with the local vernacular but if not it was a bit like reading a foreign language at times. But apart from that, as I said earlier, it’s a clever, well constructed courtroom thriller. The premise of the story is based on that old truism, from a male point of view, that is “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”. You better believe it! Rusty Sabich is Kindle County’s deputy Public Prosecutor and he has been having a torrid affair with one of his female colleagues. When the colleague turns up murdered and some circumstantial evidence seems to point at Rusty the new Chief Prosecutor has Rusty charge with the murder. The ensuing trial I found riveting. Watching the defence team at work was quite something. The use of verbal language, body language and the addition of some theatrics all this put together makes for a highly entertaining read. 3.5 stars rounded up to 4.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jean

    It has been years since I read a Scott Turow book. Now, I remember why he was one of my favorite authors. The book is well written. The characters are interesting and the plot twists and turns in unexpected ways. The ending would be a surprise to many. The courtroom action kept me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend this book. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is fifteen hours and thirty-four minutes. Edward Herrmann does an excellent job narrating the book. Herr It has been years since I read a Scott Turow book. Now, I remember why he was one of my favorite authors. The book is well written. The characters are interesting and the plot twists and turns in unexpected ways. The ending would be a surprise to many. The courtroom action kept me on the edge of my seat. I highly recommend this book. I read this as an audiobook downloaded from Audible. The book is fifteen hours and thirty-four minutes. Edward Herrmann does an excellent job narrating the book. Herrmann (1943-2014) was a well-known narrator of the history channel and audiobooks. He was an actor and famous for his portrayal of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Aditya

    Presumed Innocent is the quintessential bestseller, the prose is polished without having any personality or punch. The mystery is interesting without outright flaws but it falls apart the more you think about it. The less you have read of the genre, the more you will enjoy it. Rusty Sabich, deputy DA is investigating the death of a female colleague while a heated DA election rages on. Politics and forensics doom him as the major suspect and he had an affair with the deceased so he is soon on tri Presumed Innocent is the quintessential bestseller, the prose is polished without having any personality or punch. The mystery is interesting without outright flaws but it falls apart the more you think about it. The less you have read of the genre, the more you will enjoy it. Rusty Sabich, deputy DA is investigating the death of a female colleague while a heated DA election rages on. Politics and forensics doom him as the major suspect and he had an affair with the deceased so he is soon on trial for murder. The pivotal trial scenes are the best part of the book. Turow draws from his experience as a lawyer and makes them appear authentic without sacrificing any thrills. Subtleties and undercurrents are as important as direct testimony. The anecdotes about the criminal justice system are juicy and entertaining. But the prose is dull explaining why Turow's first hit and biggest hit remains the same at the end of his career. It reminded me of Michael Connelly, characters and prose are dour but both of them have an encyclopedic knowledge about the procedural aspects of their works making them stand out among other authors with mediocre prose. I recently read another famous 80s crime book - The Black Dahlia, it also had an extended prologue but it was devoid of pacing issues. This however drags a lot till Rusty is accused. A lot should have been edited out chief among them Rusty's conversation with his psychiatrist. The shrink does not really talk, the chapters are stream of consciousness style ramblings. The smoking gun in the case is a clerical error, that is slightly iffy plotting. The ending still lands a few well concealed twists. Characterization is inconsistent. Turow tries very hard to not call the victim an outright slut but merely insinuates it throughout the book. I found this forced political correctness pretty funny, it was basically a form of you know I am not a racist but if my wallet is stolen I invariably blame the non-white guy in the crowd. The kicker being the black guy stole it or in this case she slept around for career advancement. I admit my sense of humor is of the gallows variety. Rusty also gets inexplicably sanctimonious at the end, brought about by the belief most readers hate moral complexity in their protagonists. It makes little sense within the narrative but no one went broke underestimating audience's intelligence. Structural problems are also present. It is later revealed Rusty knew from the start who killed who. We are in his head for 450 pages, he describes furniture in excruciating detail but never lets it on who was the killer till the very end. Again Rusty's lawyer- Sandy Stern, one of the better characters in the book, keeps Rusty vague about the defense strategy. I could not stomach the fact that a lawyer on trial for murder would not be more hands on with his own legal team. Both these issues exist because Turow wants to spring the surprises when he is good and ready. The twists are good so the story works, the storytelling however is contrived. Presumed Innocent is a book of two halves, the halves are not exactly equal. The last one third is inspired combining different threads for a wonderful resolution. The first two-thirds are derivative and desultory and has its fair share of pacing problems. A good ending means my overall impression of the book is better than the review suggests but I can't exactly excuse its pacing issues, so 3.5 gets reduced for GR. Rating - 3/5.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    I'm surprised I didn't like this. The reader was pretty good, but I just didn't like the way the author wrote. There was too much back story dumping irrelevant data that detracted from the main story. I might have stuck with it longer, except I didn't like the main character enough. I'm surprised I didn't like this. The reader was pretty good, but I just didn't like the way the author wrote. There was too much back story dumping irrelevant data that detracted from the main story. I might have stuck with it longer, except I didn't like the main character enough.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    4.5 stars ... It was just a little too long. Otherwise, this was a stellar reading experience. I'm doing a bunch of challenges this year. And a couple led me to reading this book, & to reading Turow for the first time. And I'm so grateful for that. I might not have gotten around to this otherwise, & that would be a shame. This book has been out for over 30 years, & made into a movie. So there isn't much I can add to the conversation around it. I'll just say it's as much a character study as it is a 4.5 stars ... It was just a little too long. Otherwise, this was a stellar reading experience. I'm doing a bunch of challenges this year. And a couple led me to reading this book, & to reading Turow for the first time. And I'm so grateful for that. I might not have gotten around to this otherwise, & that would be a shame. This book has been out for over 30 years, & made into a movie. So there isn't much I can add to the conversation around it. I'll just say it's as much a character study as it is a procedural crime story, as much the story of a messy relationship as that of a trial, as introspective as it is cinematic. Also, somehow I guessed the culprit early on - just a hunch. But the book was so well-written that I gave up my guess early on & went along for the ride. You should, too.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

    A renowned attorney in the DA's office is having an affair with a sex crimes attorney. When she turns up dead and it looks like rape, he is pinned as the murderer. The majority of the book takes place in the courtroom but it is by no means dull. You'll never guess who was the real killer! At first, the book starts out as brash, crude and offensive at times because of the 'cop talk' banter. It was too explicit for my tastes and I nearly put the book down for good. I am glad I hung in there becaus A renowned attorney in the DA's office is having an affair with a sex crimes attorney. When she turns up dead and it looks like rape, he is pinned as the murderer. The majority of the book takes place in the courtroom but it is by no means dull. You'll never guess who was the real killer! At first, the book starts out as brash, crude and offensive at times because of the 'cop talk' banter. It was too explicit for my tastes and I nearly put the book down for good. I am glad I hung in there because this book ended up being one I could not put it down if I tried - it was a real page turner! In addition to all of the four-letter-words, the author actually has quite an exquisite vocabulary! I often felt little inner celebrations over his perfect selection of a particular descriptive word - words not commonly heard in modern literature. The author writes in the manner that cops & criminals speak, in all truthfulness, yet has a remarkable ability to dive into the deepest of emotions, intentions and observations - so much so, that I actually double checked to be sure it really was a man doing the writing! The balance between cold hard facts and relationships is phenomenal and the story has a real climax ending that stays in your mind long after you're done reading.

  15. 4 out of 5

    B the BookAddict

    I must admit that I saw the movie first, then read the book. But the book is so much better. I love the fact that Turow is a lawyer writing about the law; he knows his stuff. Even taking that into account, Turow does not weigh the reader down with too much legalese, something that adds to the book's success. This novel was the first that I read of this author: but definitely not my last. 4★ I must admit that I saw the movie first, then read the book. But the book is so much better. I love the fact that Turow is a lawyer writing about the law; he knows his stuff. Even taking that into account, Turow does not weigh the reader down with too much legalese, something that adds to the book's success. This novel was the first that I read of this author: but definitely not my last. 4★

  16. 4 out of 5

    aPriL does feral sometimes

    ‘Presumed Innocent’ by Scott Turow is very literary in tone because of the main character’s internal monologues and his mournful story narration. Chief Prosecutor Rusty Sabich tells of being accused and put on trial for the murder of his ex-lover Carolyn Polhemus. Rusty is married and has a seven-year-old son Nat. His guilt at betraying his wife Barbara and worrying about his son fuels his introspection. Why did he become so enamored with Carolyn Polhemus? The terror of what the future might be ‘Presumed Innocent’ by Scott Turow is very literary in tone because of the main character’s internal monologues and his mournful story narration. Chief Prosecutor Rusty Sabich tells of being accused and put on trial for the murder of his ex-lover Carolyn Polhemus. Rusty is married and has a seven-year-old son Nat. His guilt at betraying his wife Barbara and worrying about his son fuels his introspection. Why did he become so enamored with Carolyn Polhemus? The terror of what the future might be like even if he is not convicted does not prevent Rusty from emotionally whipping himself continuously with a very sad self-examination. Raymond Horgan is losing the Kindle County voters in his election bid to keep his prosecuting attorney job which he has held for twelve years. Horgan’s opponent, Nico Della Guardia, wants Horgan’s job especially after being fired nine months ago by Rusty acting under orders from Horgan. Nico was a deputy prosecuting attorney working for Horgan and Rusty. Both Horgan and Nico are hoping for the mayor’s endorsement to boost their image with the voters. Caught between the two campaigners, all Rusty wants is to keep his own chief prosecutor job without antagonizing either one of the competing lawyers. But when Carolyn’s body is discovered in her apartment, hogtied, possibly murdered by a blow to her head, Rusty is suddenly the number one suspect. There is a lot of circumstantial evidence pointing to Rusty. The truth is Rusty had been having a secret affair with Carolyn, but she had ghosted him four months ago. They both worked as deputy prosecutors in Horgan’s office, so it became obvious to Rusty she was definitely avoiding him by her evading him in meetings and being suddenly too busy for after-hour drinks. Rusty couldn’t stand it! He kept calling her, even breaking down in front of Barbara, his wife, which is how she finds out about Rusty’s obsession and affair with Carolyn. Rusty is not going to get any husband-of-the-year recommendations from Barbara after that. The only bright spot in his life is Nathaniel. In public, Barbara plays the dutiful wife. In private - oh my. She always has been the emotionally colder one in their marriage, but now there is definitely a very icy rage boiling off from her. She is a mathematician going to university for her Ph.D., hoping to be a teacher. The pressure to find out who really killed Carolyn is enormous. Rusty knows he has to keep his grief in check and figure it out. He thinks his marriage and job are toast, but it is important that Barbara stay on his side for Nat’s sake as well as for the reporters. Afterwards, he doesn’t know where to go or what he will do. But going to prison is definitely NOT the plan! I was pleasantly surprised by Turow’s writing style! This book is not written in the typical bleak brusqueness or black comedy of most murder mysteries. Instead it felt like I was reading a literary memoir. I liked it. (view spoiler)[The one quibble I had was the character of Barbara and how Rusty never saw her as ruthless and scary as I did! Omg, she hog-tied a dead body after murdering Carolyn! After Rusty figures it out, he lets her go with Nat! I'd be scared of her on so many levels! But Rusty was thinking he deserved her wrath, I guess. I think we need to recognize when murders are beyond the normal, run-of-the-mill rage/vengeance boundaries, and I think Barbara went WAY into mean girl, maybe even a touch psychopathic, territory! (hide spoiler)]

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jane Stewart

    3 ½ stars. Some parts very good, I was eager to know what would happen. Other parts average. STORY BRIEF: Married prosecutor Rusty is accused of murdering his former lover. The first third of the book is what happens prior to the indictment. The last two-thirds is primarily the trial. It’s told in first person by Rusty. REVIEWER’S OPINION: This did not have the typical bad guy killer. I liked the unusual plot and motivations. I saw the movie several years ago and I remembered who did it, which was t 3 ½ stars. Some parts very good, I was eager to know what would happen. Other parts average. STORY BRIEF: Married prosecutor Rusty is accused of murdering his former lover. The first third of the book is what happens prior to the indictment. The last two-thirds is primarily the trial. It’s told in first person by Rusty. REVIEWER’S OPINION: This did not have the typical bad guy killer. I liked the unusual plot and motivations. I saw the movie several years ago and I remembered who did it, which was the same as in the book. But other things were very different between the movie and the book. During the first third, I was impatient for things to happen. It seemed too drawn out, getting to know various characters: lawyers, cops, wife, lover. Then when Rusty was indicted for the murder of Carolyn I was frustrated. I was anxious about the ending. Would it be happy or not? I didn’t want to invest another ten hours, just to be let down and depressed at the end. So I read the last chapter which summarized many of the details, and I was relieved. I liked the ending for Rusty. Then I went back to where I left off at his indictment and listened to the rest of the book. My enjoyment from that point on was much better than when I was worrying about the ending. The last two-thirds is mostly about evidence and watching the judge and the lawyers on each side. At times it was exciting. Sometimes it was slow. For someone like me, I’d recommend reading the last chapter (40) first, then go to the beginning and read the whole book. As a result I paid more attention to key characters. Since I knew certain things would happen, I was eagerly anticipating those events thinking “when’s this going to happen?” There were two scenes describing torture and brutality which bothered me. I wish the author had NOT included them. They were about other cases the prosecutor worked on. One a small boy tortured by his mother. Another a man put in prison, raped, and suffered permanent damage to his body. NARRATOR: The narrator Edward Herrmann was fine. DATA: Unabridged audiobook reading time: 15 hrs and 33 mins. Swearing language: strong, including religious swear words. Sexual language: moderate. Sexual content: About 7 sex scenes, mostly referred to, not a lot of detail shown. Setting: current day mid-sized city and suburbs in the U.S. Book Copyright: 1987. Genre: legal mystery. Ending: Good enough for those who want happy endings.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Michaela

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. What a mess. It was unnecessarily racist, and unjustifiably long. I opened this book expecting to be gripped, suprised, and excited. Instead, I was disppointed. It was a far too long blow-by-blow account of unimportant details. I guess who the killer was halfway through the book, and it somehow managed to further disappoint me, in the process of revealing the killer to me at the end. I'm not even sure whether or not I should go into the mess of a sub-plot. Becuase the killer is, suprise surpise, h What a mess. It was unnecessarily racist, and unjustifiably long. I opened this book expecting to be gripped, suprised, and excited. Instead, I was disppointed. It was a far too long blow-by-blow account of unimportant details. I guess who the killer was halfway through the book, and it somehow managed to further disappoint me, in the process of revealing the killer to me at the end. I'm not even sure whether or not I should go into the mess of a sub-plot. Becuase the killer is, suprise surpise, his wife, and because he wanted to avoid having to end with her confessing her crime to the courtroom, Turow decided to end the trial abruplty, through the use of that infamous 'B-file'. Judge Larren was once involved in bribery, and through fear of all of his dirt being brought to light in the courtroom, he dismisses the trial, and sets dusty free. No one cared in the slighest. Practically every one knew, but not one single character cared. Why, then should I have cared? I didn't. It was sloppy tactic. It's as if Scott Turow sat at his desk scratching away with his pencil in a 'got to have a twist, got to have a twist' frenzy, and was prepared to jot down ANYTHING, to deliver that god damned twist. I can't remember being gripped by the story, once, and the highest point, was the second to last trial. I gave it two stars instead of one, because although a drag it's written well (linguistically), and the facts pumped behind all of the law, and forensics, were interesting (if you like that sort of thing). All in all, it was nothing out of the ordinary, and am quite miffed that the reviews on the back claimed that this book would take over my life for a while. Maybe I should be blaming them.

  19. 4 out of 5

    The Celtic Rebel (Richard)

    This book made me fall in love with Scott Turow's writing. I have set myself a goal to read and own all of his books. I had already seen the movie for this book before I read any of it. As often the case, the book was so much better than the movie. Scott Turow is a wonderful writer who draws you into the world he is creating. It is a great book with strong characters, sharp dialogue, memorable court scenes, passion, lust, betrayal, corruption, politics, jealousy, and a great story with many twis This book made me fall in love with Scott Turow's writing. I have set myself a goal to read and own all of his books. I had already seen the movie for this book before I read any of it. As often the case, the book was so much better than the movie. Scott Turow is a wonderful writer who draws you into the world he is creating. It is a great book with strong characters, sharp dialogue, memorable court scenes, passion, lust, betrayal, corruption, politics, jealousy, and a great story with many twists and turns. A true classic.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore

    Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rozat “Rusty” Sabich finds himself investigating the murder of co-worker Carolyn Polhemus (with whom he had an affair) amidst a heated election campaign in which his boss Raymond Horgan is seeking re-election. He isn’t making much headway, at least not as fast as is needed, and soon finds tables turned, and himself in the docks charged with Carolyn’s murder. Narrated in first person, the book takes us through Rusty’s indictment and trial, where he has to deal fo Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rozat “Rusty” Sabich finds himself investigating the murder of co-worker Carolyn Polhemus (with whom he had an affair) amidst a heated election campaign in which his boss Raymond Horgan is seeking re-election. He isn’t making much headway, at least not as fast as is needed, and soon finds tables turned, and himself in the docks charged with Carolyn’s murder. Narrated in first person, the book takes us through Rusty’s indictment and trial, where he has to deal for the first time with being on the other side, and of course, the murder mystery itself. The story takes us deep into the politics and law enforcement of the fictional Kindle county where everyone it seems has something to hide, and beneath ostensibly ordinary, “respectable” appearances, there is plenty of sleaze (a bit too much for my liking), and for a bit into the city’s underbelly, teeming with drugs, gangs, and danger. But the trial itself and the murder mystery made the book a pretty good read for me. The courtroom scenes and some excellent cross-examinations were very Perry Mason, and made for exciting reading. It was in fact when the trial began that I really started to get drawn into the book, and didn’t want to leave off. The murder mystery was rather thrilling and unlike the trial (when one might just predict the end result, though not how it was reached which the interesting bit), I wasn’t really sure how things would turn out or even where they were headed. Is it political, personal, or has Rusty stumbled onto something in the course of his investigation? Even when you think you finally have the answer (which is a surprise), Turow springs another unexpected surprise that I certainly didn’t see coming.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    5 Stars. One of the best of all time. One of the best I have ever read. From the ambiguous meaning of the title to the extraordinary twists in the plot as it nears its denouement, "Presumed Innocent" takes the reader into superlative country. Kindle County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rusty Sabich was leading a frenetic but stable life as Raymond Horgan's number one, when ADA Carolyn Polhemus entered it. For whatever reason, he reached for her and she soon became his mistress. And shortly, a murd 5 Stars. One of the best of all time. One of the best I have ever read. From the ambiguous meaning of the title to the extraordinary twists in the plot as it nears its denouement, "Presumed Innocent" takes the reader into superlative country. Kindle County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rusty Sabich was leading a frenetic but stable life as Raymond Horgan's number one, when ADA Carolyn Polhemus entered it. For whatever reason, he reached for her and she soon became his mistress. And shortly, a murder victim. The timing is not right; Horgan is up for re-election and Rusty with his friend Detective Dan Lipranzer are asked to get to the bottom of the situation as fast as possible. Sabich is already conflicted, given his personal relationship, and it develops greater intensity as he is charged with the murder. Ultimately the story is Rusty's trial, with the inimitable Sandy Stern for the defence, and Rusty's wife Barbara as supporting pillar. There's an excellent 1990 Harrison Ford movie version but read the book first! One wonders how Scott Turow's second legal thriller, now a must read, could top his first. (August 2019)

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kymm

    Couldn't finish this book. I don't know if it was the story, the author or both, but the profanity, the racism, the sexism and the explicit sex scenes were enough to turn me off. I just don't think a book needs to go that way to make it a good book. Bums me out I always try to finish my books. This is probably the 2nd one in as many years. Couldn't finish this book. I don't know if it was the story, the author or both, but the profanity, the racism, the sexism and the explicit sex scenes were enough to turn me off. I just don't think a book needs to go that way to make it a good book. Bums me out I always try to finish my books. This is probably the 2nd one in as many years.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Kurt

    I have heard Scott Turow described as "the thinking man's John Grisham," and to the extent that the expression is a compliment, this debut novel justifies the praise. I had read two minor Turow novels before this one, so I was familiar with one of the minor characters (Turow sets his stories in the fictional Kindle County, and familiar faces pop up from book to book) and Turow's intriguing writing style: outside the courtroom, he tends to narrate in a poetic voice that employs an educated and pr I have heard Scott Turow described as "the thinking man's John Grisham," and to the extent that the expression is a compliment, this debut novel justifies the praise. I had read two minor Turow novels before this one, so I was familiar with one of the minor characters (Turow sets his stories in the fictional Kindle County, and familiar faces pop up from book to book) and Turow's intriguing writing style: outside the courtroom, he tends to narrate in a poetic voice that employs an educated and precise vocabulary that usually stops just short of being pretentious, while the courtroom scenes pulse with a rhythm that appreciates the drama inherent in a real trial without sensationalizing events past what a real lawyer would believe. In this novel, Turow uses his talents to narrate an initially straightforward account of a prosecutor who investigates the murder of a former mistress and finds himself accused of the crime, but when the time comes for trial and explanations of whodunit and whydunit, the author indulges himself in much more complicated narration. As a lawyer, I found this book to be inspiring and challenging, and as a fan of mysteries, I appreciated that I was not able to guess the outcome even though Turow was fair in revealing clues. I highly recommend this novel for anyone interested in an exciting but relatively believable courtroom thriller.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Pye

    This was a great read. There were a couple of issues that made me cringe and wish I had fast-forwarded (view spoiler)[ the little boy abused by his mother and the CPA who went to prison (hide spoiler)] , but I was engrossed for most of the book. I listened to it via Overdrive and I think the narrator was very good, especially as Sandy. I look forward to the next book in this series - it is about Sandy and his family. This was a great read. There were a couple of issues that made me cringe and wish I had fast-forwarded (view spoiler)[ the little boy abused by his mother and the CPA who went to prison (hide spoiler)] , but I was engrossed for most of the book. I listened to it via Overdrive and I think the narrator was very good, especially as Sandy. I look forward to the next book in this series - it is about Sandy and his family.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Grant

    Some lawyers should become writers, others should not. Scott Turow falls squarely in the latter category. Once you realize that half this novel can be skipped, as it is useless exposition about characters the author fails to make sympathetic in the first place, it becomes a much shorter read. Combine that with the fact that half the character descriptions border on, if not delve fully into, racism, it may not be worth reading at all. (I'm sure Turow would say it's the character speaking and not Some lawyers should become writers, others should not. Scott Turow falls squarely in the latter category. Once you realize that half this novel can be skipped, as it is useless exposition about characters the author fails to make sympathetic in the first place, it becomes a much shorter read. Combine that with the fact that half the character descriptions border on, if not delve fully into, racism, it may not be worth reading at all. (I'm sure Turow would say it's the character speaking and not the author, but they are one in the same) My final complaint with the book is that around 1/3 of the way into it I thought, "He'd better not end it that way," and sure enough he draws this winding course just to bring things back to a terribly cliched, Law & Order ending, though without any of the talent or ability of the television writers.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gary

    An excellent murder mystery novel that keeps you guessing to the very end. Well written with strong characters and lots of twists and turns. Kept me interested throughout.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    The 2nd half of the book was much better than the first half largely because of the twist. I’m not too much of a thriller fan, at times it felt like Gone Baby Gone. I just don’t believe the characters in the book act plausibly, ever hear of ruling out suspects before going to trial? 3.5 stars.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Book Concierge

    Book on CD performed by Edward Herrmann From the book jacket: Rusty Sabich, Kindle County’s longtime chief deputy prosecutor, has been asked to investigate the rape and murder of one of his colleagues. Carolyn Polhemus was strong, sensuous, and magnetic; she was also clearly ambitious and quite possibly unscrupulous. Her murder has been an embarrassment to Rusty’s boss, Raymond Horgan, who is facing a serious challenge in the upcoming election and who looks to Rusty for a fast solution to the cas Book on CD performed by Edward Herrmann From the book jacket: Rusty Sabich, Kindle County’s longtime chief deputy prosecutor, has been asked to investigate the rape and murder of one of his colleagues. Carolyn Polhemus was strong, sensuous, and magnetic; she was also clearly ambitious and quite possibly unscrupulous. Her murder has been an embarrassment to Rusty’s boss, Raymond Horgan, who is facing a serious challenge in the upcoming election and who looks to Rusty for a fast solution to the case that will help save him politically. What Horgan doesn’t know is that, only a few months before she was murdered, Carolyn Polhemus and Rusty Sabich were lovers. My reactions This is book # 1 in the Kindle County Legal Thriller series. It’s a fast-paced story with several twists and turns and lots of political and personal intrigue to keep the reader guessing and turning pages. I don’t go to many movies, but I did see this one, starring Harrison Ford as Rusty. So, I knew where things were headed going into the novel. Still, Turow’s tight writing gave me the sense of suspense and intrigue and impending doom that I expect from a mystery/thriller like this. final reveal is a bit of a stunner. Edward Hermann did a marvelous job of narrating the audio. He set a good pace and kept the story moving.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alexw

    Slow start and the dialogue was more about what they didn't say in the courtroom that what they did say and were implying. While I guessed who was the murderer way before that fact was revealed. I stil did enjoy the book. (spoiler alert) The wife elaborately planned and framed her husband but when she admitted to the murderer, she stated that she would have confessed to the brutal premediated murder before seeing her husband go to jail-I did not believe her for a minute-she woud have let her unfai Slow start and the dialogue was more about what they didn't say in the courtroom that what they did say and were implying. While I guessed who was the murderer way before that fact was revealed. I stil did enjoy the book. (spoiler alert) The wife elaborately planned and framed her husband but when she admitted to the murderer, she stated that she would have confessed to the brutal premediated murder before seeing her husband go to jail-I did not believe her for a minute-she woud have let her unfaithful husband rot in jail. While I have not seen the movie, Harrison Ford cast as the wimpy ,infatuated and wimpy lover would be totally miscast not an Indian Jones genre for him- William Hurt played a similar character in Body Heat to perfection.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Michael Finocchiaro

    This is one of Turow's first legal thrillers, a category which he may have invented as far as I know. If that is your kinda thing, then Turow is your kind of writer. I found it a bit redundant and containing stereotypes and never went back to read it again. I believe it was made into a blockbuster movie with Harrison Ford in 1990. It may be that the film is better than the book but feel free to disagree in the comments! This is one of Turow's first legal thrillers, a category which he may have invented as far as I know. If that is your kinda thing, then Turow is your kind of writer. I found it a bit redundant and containing stereotypes and never went back to read it again. I believe it was made into a blockbuster movie with Harrison Ford in 1990. It may be that the film is better than the book but feel free to disagree in the comments!

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