The Burden of Proof

Published by Grand Central Publishing, December 2000
Paperback, 608 pages, ISBN: 9780446677127

The author of PRESUMED INNOCENT, one of the signature novels of the eighties, has written a dazzling, taut, utterly engrossing new book about a family and its deepest, most closely guarded secrets.

Late one spring afternoon, Alejandro "Sandy" Stem, the leading defense attorney in the midsized Midwestern city where he lives, comes 'home from a business trip to find that Clara, his wife of thirty years, has committed suicide. Readers of PRESUMED INNOCENT will remember Stem as the brilliant, elegant, and elusive lawyer who masterminded the defense of Rusty Sabich. Scott Turow's new novel probes the character of this fascinating and complex man and his troubled private world.

Like many successful individuals, Stern has often seemed preoccupied and remote even to those closest to him. He is overwhelmed by Clara's death, and as he tries to come to terms with it, he is forced to confront all he truly does not know about his life, including his children. Even in his mourning, Stern is drawn back to the law as the defender of Dixon Hartnell, who is the target of an increasingly complex investigation by a federal grand jury. Stem's connections to Dixon, the immensely rich owner of a commodities futures brokerage and a wily financial gamesman, are long and involved. Dixon, who both fascinates and repels Stern, is the husband of Stem's beloved sister, Silvia, and he has employed Stem to keep him one step ahead of the law for decades.

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Reviews and Praise

He's an unmistakably literary novelist who has made himself a master of the mystery genre.

San Francisco Chronicle

Turow is an uncommonly skilled writer, and an uncommonly eloquent one.

Christian Science Monitor

Turow is worthy to be ranked with Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler.

New York Times Book Review

Turow demonstrates that he… is unequalled in portraying the intricacies and duplicities of the law.

Detroit News

Turow's novels are not mere entertainments. They transcend their genre. They are literature that will last.

George F. Will

"The Last Word," Newsweek