Raymond Horton is running for re-election for the Kindle County Prosecutor's office. He's being challenged by Nico Della Guardia, who is winning the race.
Rusty Sabich is Hogan's deputy prosecutor and narrator of the story.
Carolyn Polhemus, a prosecutor in Hogan's office is found raped and murdered. Since Hogan is busy with his campaign, he asks Rusty to run the investigation. When the investigation moves slowly, Nico uses the fact that it happened and the slowness to move further ahead in the race.
Through flashbacks, we follow Rusty's involvement with Carolyn and how she became the dominant one in the affair but ended it abruptly. Then Rusty sees her with Hogan and realizes that Carolyn is using sex as a way to gain influence in the office.
In a contemporary manner, Rusty seems like a battlefield general whose superior has let him down, perhaps there is a comparison to one of the generals who had been in charge of Afghanistan.
This section ends with a very cinematic, suspenseful scene in Raymond Hogan's office. Hogan tells Rusty that he, Hogan, will be vacating his office almost immediately. Then, Nico's man, Tommy Moto, tells Rusty that he has evidence that Rusty was in Carolyn's home on the night of her murder and that Moto will be charging Rusty with her death.
The second half of the novel revolves around the trial. Rusty's defense is handled by Sandy Stern, who becomes one of Rusty's few friends, along with an investigator named Dan Lipanzer. Stern seems like a professorial and fatherly type and does a wonderful job in defending Rusty.
The pacing of the novel was particularly well done. Rusty is a stoic character and takes a back seat while others defend him. The court scenes are picturesque and will live on in the reader's memory.
At the conclusion of this segment, an added seventy pages explain what happens to the characters after the trial. I felt that this segment was excessively lengthy. Otherwise this was an extremely readable and entertaining novel.
While PRESUMED INNOCENT might be most commonly categorized as a legal thriller, one could definitely make a case for calling it a psychological thriller. In much the same fashion as the appeal of Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch canon starts with the noir angst-ridden psychological under-pinnings of his main characters, Scott Turow narrates much of his story via the thoughts of Rusty Sabich, the former deputy prosecutor of the KindleCountyDA's office. The basic … more