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Presumed Innocent Presumed Innocent
Published by Grand Central Publishing, December 2000
Paperback, 512 pages, ISBN: 9780446676441

Presumed Innocent is an achievement of a high order — with marvelous control and touch, an awesome capacity to assemble and dispense (and sometimes withhold) evidence, and a cast of characters who are dismayingly credible. Nobody who picks it up is going to lay it down lightly. —Wallace Stegner

After two days of non-stop reading I put down Scott Turow's novel feeling drained, exhilarated and sorry it was over. Presumed Innocent is one of the most enthralling novels I have read in a long, long time. Turow has created a world that makes everyday reality feel naive and mundane. —Pat Conroy
It's gray, gritty early spring in the midsize Mid-western city that is the setting for Scott Turow's spellbinding book, already widely hailed as the most brilliant novel about lawyers and the law to appear in many years. Rusty Sabich, Kindle County's longtime chief deputy prosecutor, has been asked to investigate the rape and murder of one of his colleagues. Carolyn Polhernus was strong, sensuous, and magnetic; she was also clearly ambitious and quite possibly unscrupulous. Her murder has been an embarrassment to Rusty's boss, Raymond Horgan, who is facing a serious challenge in the upcoming election and who looks to Rusty for a fast solution to the case that will help save him politically. What Horgan doesn't know is that, only a few months before she was murdered, Carolyn Polhemus and Rusty Sabich were lovers.

Rusty is a passionate, brooding, fundamentally lonely man. As he nears forty, both his marriage and his career seem to be stagnating. His feelings are focused on his love for his son, Nat, and his desperate, enduring fantasies about Carolyn, who had abruptly ended their affair six months ago. Rusty's investigation allows him to indulge relentlessly in his obsession, but he apparently makes little progress in finding the killer. Then, when Horgan loses the election, Rusty suddenly, incredibly, finds himself accused of Carolyn's murder.

New York Times critic Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, reviewing One L, Scott Turow's "wonderful" account of his first year at law school, wrote that he "read the book as if it were the most absorbing of thrillers, losing track of the time I spent with it and resenting the hours I had to be away from it." Presumed Innocent has had precisely the same effect on everyone who has read it in manuscript. It is a supremely suspenseful and compelling novel; but beyond the powerful tensions and reverberations of its plot, Scott Turow's book holds the reader because of the fullness and reality of the world he has created. Few novels about the law have revealed its inner workings, its psychology and drama and logic, with such verisimilitude and intelligence, or have brought to life such rich and memorable characters. The world of Kindle County is a world of subtle moral shadings and fierce, conflicting loyalties, where the truth is generally cloudy and guilt is a close-to-universal burden. It is a world that bears a striking resemblance to our own, and it will haunt the reader long after the central mystery of Scott Turow's masterful novel has been solved.

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