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Psychological thriller or legal thriller? You be the judge

  • Jul 4, 2010
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 plot premise is exciting! Raymond Horgan, Sabich's boss and incumbent in the KindleCountyprosecutor's position is squared off against Nico Della Guardia in the upcoming election. When Carolyn Polhemus, one of Sabich's colleagues in the office is found murdered, Horgan assigns the job to Sabich. But when Horgan loses the election, Della Guardia discovers that Sabich and Polhemus once had an affair. The magnifying glass of the investigation is focused onto Sabich and he is horrified to discover that he is now the sole suspect for the murder.
We feel like Sabich isn't the murder. Indeed, we very much want to belive that Sabich isn't the murder. But the beauty of the suspense in this novel is that we are never sure about the culprit and the true motives for the murder until the final few pages.
Lots of superb legal drama with lots of colour and detail presented from both sides of a number of different fences - prosecution vs defense; police and investigation vs judiciary; victim vs villain; and husband vs wife, to name only a few.
If you're looking for action in this one, you're bound to be disappointed. This is a thinking man's thriller, a cerebral novel that is plot and character driven. As another reviewer once noted, it's a shame that very little that Scott Turow has written since has measured up to the very high bar that he set for himself with this debut novel.
Highly recommended.
Paul Weiss

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review by . October 22, 2010
4 1/2 stars.      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 …
About the reviewer
Paul Weiss ()
Ranked #16
   A modern day dilettante with widely varied eclectic interests. A dabbler in muchbut grandmaster of none - wilderness camping in all four seasons, hiking, canoeing, world travel,philately, … more
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