Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow fulfilled the “Book with a Two Word Title” category of the PopSugar 2019 Reading Challenge. I randomly chose the novel from my bookshelf, knowing I purchased it because it was a “great mystery.”
I had the wrong story in mind and spent half the book wondering when the Edward Norton character would arrive.
I assumed the novel to be Primal Fear. (The movie about the defendant who completely dupes the lawyers.) Therefore, my review will be wonky.
Presumed Innocent is the story of an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney’s trial for murder. The book is a courtroom drama. With evidence, and lawyers, motions, and politics. One of the problems with the story, for me at least, is that the main character was neither trustworthy nor likeable. But that was the point. (Again, I confused the novel. I thought he was the strong, helpful prosecutor who got duped. Again wrong story.) We never completely trust Rusty, and I never did.
Politics and courtrooms are not my usual choice of novels. Mr. Turow did a great job of showing the games and tricks and flat-out intelligent moves happening in the courtroom. I understood all of it. Well done, sir! But I couldn’t figure out who-dun-it. Nor could I decide if Rusty committed the murder. The title helped to throw the reader off even more.
My biggest point of contention (because I read too many mysteries and watch too many police dramas) centered on the trail happening at all. There was practically no proof. Even with a politically motivated prosecutor, a huge hole still appeared in the case from the beginning. Conflicts of interest, evidence tampering, poor forensics. I was surprised Mr. Turow didn’t throw a few more bells and whistles in there. Why would they try Rusty in the first place? Especially with little to no proof.
Also, why didn’t they search his house? Ever? I feel like the prosecution fell down so hard and that made it easy to dismiss the case. If no one gathers real evidence, no wonder the defendant goes free.
Anyway, once I figured out I wasn’t reading Primal Fear, I enjoyed the story.
I give Presumed Innocent four Cuban cigars in celebration.