Innocent by Scott Turow (Review #2)


InnocentReviewed by Allen Hott

Innocent is the follow up to an earlier Turow novel (Presumed Innocent) and another great story involving the legal profession.

Many years ago Rusty Sabich was an assistant prosecuting attorney’s whose former girlfriend had been found strangled. Although another P/A, Tommy Molto, had fought hard to prove Sabich guilty somehow the evidence got mishandled or botched. The end result was Sabich walked and the P/A ended up out of a job. Sabich shortly thereafter became the P/A and eventually became a judge. All this time Molto has lived with the idea that somehow Sabich got away with murder. Molto is now P/A in waiting and not only waiting for that job but another chance somehow at Sabich.

Currently Sabich is having marital problems and he has begun an affair with a much younger woman who works in the legal system with him. No one is aware of any of this until Sabich’s wife of over 30 years is found dead. A strange twist to the incident is the fact that Sabich sat next to the dead body for over twenty-four hours before reporting the death.

Another interesting subplot is the introduction of Sabich’s son who later in the story does something that helps make the story even stranger.

In the P/A’s office Jim Brand, Molto’s head assistant and close friend, begins to nag at Molto that the office needs to get deeply involved with the investigation. He is certain that Sabich had something to do with the death.

Molto fights hard to not go after Sabich because he feels that the public as well as the judicial system will feel that Molto is only doing so because of the past event. Since he was at least partially blamed for the mishandling of the evidence in the original case against Sabich, Molto feels that unless they can prove beyond a shadow of doubt that Sabich did it Molto should leave it lie.

Brand will not let it go. After much digging for further evidence and much badgering, he convinces Molto that they are, without a doubt, ready to charge Sabich. Molto finally agrees. They do so and the case goes to trial.

The telling of the proceedings is really done well. It is done through the eyes of Molto, Sabich, and Sabich’s son who is also in the legal profession but is just a witness in this trial. The reader can easily picture all the participants including the Oriental judge who adds a lot to the whole procedure. The interplay between the defense and prosecution is really well told and interesting!

Turow does a great job of carrying a story line along with many, many little added sidelights and subplots. He does tend to get a little wordy in places and could possibly be a little more succinct but overall Innocent is one great book that you do not want to miss.

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