The Last Trial

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By Scott Turow

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Two formidable men collide in this “first-class legal thriller” and New York Times bestseller about a celebrated criminal defense lawyer and the prosecution of his lifelong friend — a doctor accused of murder (David Baldacci).

At eighty-five years old, Alejandro “Sandy” Stern, a brilliant defense lawyer with his health failing but spirit intact, is on the brink of retirement. But when his old friend Dr. Kiril Pafko, a former Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, is faced with charges of insider trading, fraud, and murder, his entire life’s work is put in jeopardy, and Stern decides to take on one last trial.

In a case that will be the defining coda to both men’s accomplished lives, Stern probes beneath the surface of his friend’s dazzling veneer as a distinguished cancer researcher. As the trial progresses, he will question everything he thought he knew about his friend. Despite Pafko’s many failings, is he innocent of the terrible charges laid against him? How far will Stern go to save his friend, and — no matter the trial’s outcome — will he ever know the truth?

Stern’s duty to defend his client and his belief in the power of the judicial system both face a final, terrible test in the courtroom, where the evidence and reality are sometimes worlds apart.

Full of the deep insights into the spaces where the fragility of human nature and the justice system collide, Scott Turow’s The Last Trial is a masterful legal thriller that unfolds in page-turning suspense — and questions how we measure a life.

Excerpt

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Prologue

A woman screams. Shrill and desolate, the brief sound rips through the solemn hush in the corridors of the old federal courthouse.

Within the huge courtroom of the chief judge, the spectators are on their feet. The case on trial here, the criminal prosecution of a world-renowned physician, has been national news, and the gallery has been shoulder-to-shoulder every day. Now most of the onlookers are straining to see what has just happened beyond the walnut rail that bounds the area reserved for the trial participants.

The defendant’s lead counsel, a very old man but still quite celebrated, has sagged from sight at the defense table. His client, the accused doctor, who is almost as aged as his attorney, kneels, holding the fallen man’s limp hand by the wrist.

“No pulse,” the doctor shouts. “Help, please!”

With that, the young woman beside him, who first cried out, takes flight. She is the paralegal on the case and also the old lawyer’s granddaughter, and she bulls down the center aisle of the gallery, headed toward the door. Beside the doctor, the attorney’s daughter, his law partner for decades, has been largely paralyzed by distress. All along, she has approached this trial, their last case together, with foreboding. Now she is weeping spontaneously, making no sound despite the tears racing down behind her glasses. The two prosecutors, the United States Attorney and his younger assistant, have sped from their seats across the courtroom. Working together, the pair take hold of the figure heaped on the floor.

In her robe, the chief judge has rushed down from the bench, intent on taking control of the scene, but she stops, suddenly mindful that the jury remains here. Like the other onlookers, the jurors are on their feet in the box in various stricken poses. The judge points to the deputy marshal positioned near them and shouts, “Remove the jury, please,” then continues forward.

The court security officer, in his blazer and flesh-colored earpiece, has run across the courtroom to help, and with his aid, the prosecutors slowly hoist the old lawyer’s body, placing him on his back on the walnut table, as his daughter shoves aside papers and equipment to make room. The old doctor quickly spreads the attorney’s suit jacket and rips open his white shirt to expose his chest. The lawyer and the doctor have been friends for decades, and there is a trace of tenderness as the physician briefly presses his ear over the other man’s heart, then sets the heel of his palm on the sternum of the inert figure, pumping with both hands at regular intervals.

“Someone breathe for him!” the doctor urges. The judge, who has known the lawyers on both sides for years, reacts first, pinching open the attorney’s pale lips and setting her mouth on his as she exhales deeply. The sight seems to bring the daughter back to herself, and after the first dozen or so breaths, she takes over.

The prosecutors and the security officer have stepped back. Perhaps they mean to give the doctor room, or perhaps, like everyone else here, they find the sight of the old lawyer motionless on the table, like a Spartan on his shield, stark and horrifying. A small man, he has nonetheless always been a dominating presence in the courtroom. Now he lies here sadly exposed. Sparse white hairs curl across his breast, and his flesh has the grayish undertone of skim milk. The left side of his chest appears somewhat sunken where the livid mark of a surgical scar follows from just below his nipple all the way to his back. Incongruously, his red, white, and blue necktie, still knotted in his collar, hangs down his naked side.

The young woman who screamed and then fled has returned. She is an odd person. You can see that, not just because of the inch-long nail driven through her nose as decoration, but also from the slightly angry and indifferent way she deals with people. “Move, move,” she shouts, dodging up the aisle. She carries a red plastic case in her right hand, where blood is welling from her knuckles. The latch on the box in the corridor that houses the defibrillator was jammed, and after several desperate tries, the lawyer’s granddaughter simply punched in the thin glass.

As she passes the front spectators’ row, one of the long line of journalists standing there remarks to a colleague beside him, “Talk about going out with your boots on.”

Immediately after delivering the equipment to the doctor, the young woman wheels, pointing her bloody hand at the reporter.

“That’s shit, Stew,” she says. “No way he’s dying.”




I. OPENING

November 5, 2019




1. The End

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury,” says Mr. Alejandro Stern. For nearly sixty years, he has offered this greeting to start his defense of the accused, and with the words today, a vapor of melancholy scuttles across his heart. But he is here. We live in the everlasting present. And he knows this much with iron certainty: He has had his turn.

“This is the end,” he says. “For me.” Without lowering his eyes from the jury, he blindly probes his midsection to fasten the center button on his suit coat, as he always has done after his first few words. “No doubt, you have been thinking, ‘The defense lawyer is so very old.’ And you are correct, of course. Standing up to the government when the freedom of a good person, like Dr. Kiril Pafko, hangs in the balance is not a task for someone of my age. This will be my final time.”

Behind him on the bench, Chief Judge Sonya Klonsky utters an unformed sound, as if clearing her throat. Yet having known Sonny well for thirty years, he understands as clearly as if she had spoken. Were he to say more about his personal situation, the judge will politely cut him off.

“Yet I could not refuse this case,” he adds.

“Mr. Stern,” Judge Klonsky says, “perhaps you should turn to the proof.”

Looking up to her on the carved walnut bench, Stern lets his head droop in a small bow. It is a gesture retained from his boyhood in Argentina, which also left the whisper of an accent that embarrasses him, even now, whenever he hears recordings of his voice.

“Just so, Your Honor,” he answers, then turns again to the jury. “Marta and I are proud to stand beside Dr. Pafko at this crucial moment in what has been a long and honored life. Marta, if you would.”

Marta Stern rises slowly at the defense table, greeting the jurors with a pleasant smile. As her father sees her, Marta is that unusual person who looks far better in her middle years than she did as a young woman—fit, well coiffed, and at ease. Stern, by contrast, has been withered by age and disease. But even now, he does not need to say she is his daughter. Both are short and thickly built, both show the same awkward combination of wide features. Nodding, Marta resumes her seat at the defense table beside their paralegal, Pinky, Stern’s granddaughter.

Stern lifts his hand next to his client.

“Kiril, please.” Dr. Pafko, too, comes to his feet, stiffened by age but still tall and attentive to his appearance. A white silk pocket square bubbles above one line of the golden buttons on his double-breasted blazer. His silver hair, streaked by yellow and almost entirely thinned away on top, is swept back debonairly, while his teeth are uneven and small as he attempts a charming smile. “How old a man are you, Kiril?”

“Seventy-eight,” Pafko answers at once. Stern’s question to his client at a time when only the lawyers are supposed to speak is clearly improper, but Stern knows from long experience that the government’s lead counsel, the United States Attorney, Moses Appleton, will bypass minor objections rather than have the jury think he is eager to hide things. Stern wants Kiril’s voice to be among the jurors’ first impressions, so they will be less disappointed if, as Stern hopes, Kiril never takes the stand in his own defense.

“Seventy-eight,” Stern repeats, and tosses his head in mock amazement. “A young man,” he adds, and the fourteen jurors, including the two alternates, all smile. “Let me tell you a bit about what the evidence will show concerning Kiril Pafko. He came to the US from Argentina to complete his medical education roughly half a century ago, accompanied by his wife, Donatella, who is there behind him in the first row.” Donatella Pafko, a year or two older than Stern, eighty-six or eighty-seven now, sits with a regal air, utterly composed, her white hair gathered into a smooth bun, her face heavily made up and lifted bravely. “He has two children. His daughter, Dara, is seated beside her mother. You will meet his son, Dr. Leopoldo Pafko, called Lep, later as a witness in the case. Lep and Dara have given Donatella and Kiril five grandchildren. Surprisingly, Kiril’s grandchildren, too, will figure in the evidence you are going to hear.

“Of course, most of the proof will concern Kiril’s professional life. You will learn that Kiril Pafko is both a medical doctor, an MD, and a PhD in biochemistry. For four decades plus, he has been an esteemed professor at Easton University’s medical college, here in Kindle County, where he has directed one the world’s foremost cancer research labs. Along the way, he also founded a company, Pafko Therapeutics, which puts his research into practice, producing lifesaving cancer medications.

“I apologize now, because in this case you will hear a good deal about cancer. As we learned during voir dire,” Stern says, using the term for the judge’s questioning of prospective jurors, “many of us have our own sad experience with cancer, through the suffering of a loved one, or even”—Stern meaningfully touches the lapel on his suit jacket—“ourselves. If the fight against cancer may be likened to a worldwide war, then Kiril Pafko has been one of the human race’s leading generals and, as the evidence will show you, one of that war’s most decorated heroes.”

Using his ivory-knobbed walking stick, Stern steps closer to the jurors.

“Despite a light remark or two from me,” Stern says, “I am sure you understand that for Dr. Pafko, this case is not a laughing matter. You have heard an excellent opening statement from my friend, Moses Appleton.” Stern gestures to the crowded prosecution table beside him, where Moses, a square man in a store-bought suit, screws up his lips and his narrow, faint moustache in suspicion. He clearly regards Stern’s compliment as tactical, as it is—but also sincere. After trying half a dozen cases against Moses over the years, Stern knows that the US Attorney’s stolid, plainspoken way strikes all but the most blatantly racist jurors as reliable.

“Mr. Appleton has summarized the evidence, as the government would have you see it. For nearly a decade, he says, Pafko Therapeutics, sometimes called PT, worked on a cancer wonder drug called g-Livia. That much is true. What is untrue is Mr. Appleton’s claim that the medication received rapid approval from the Food and Drug Administration, the FDA, only because Dr. Pafko falsified the clinical trial data for g-Livia to conceal a series of unexpected deaths. You will learn that Kiril Pafko did nothing like that. But Mr. Appleton maintains that this imagined ‘fraud’ caused Dr. Pafko’s stock in PT to gain several hundred million dollars in value, even while seven cancer patients named in the indictment had their lives cut short.

“In consequence, the prosecutors have charged this seventy-eight-year-old scientist, revered around the globe, as if he were a Mafia don. In Count 1 of the indictment, the government has alleged a strange crime called ‘racketeering’ that combines a grab bag of state and federal offenses. Kiril Pafko is now accused of fraud, by several different names, of insider stock trading, and if all that were not enough, of murder. Murder,” Stern repeats and goes completely still for a second. “Not a laughing matter at all.”

Pausing for effect, Stern glances to Marta to gauge how he is doing. If the Sterns had followed their long custom, Marta would be addressing the jury in opening. But she has gallantly given way to her father, saying he is entitled to maximum time at center stage for his final bow. The truth, Stern suspects, is that she does not care much for their client, and regards the case as her father’s last folly, a misjudgment of age or vanity or both, and, besides all that, a test Stern may no longer be up to.

Marta would say this case has nearly killed Stern once already. Eight months ago, in March, he was sideswiped at high speed on the interstate, as he was driving back from witness interviews at PT. Stern’s Cadillac was slammed into a ditch, while Stern himself was unconscious when the ambulance arrived at the hospital, where a subdural hematoma—blood on the brain—required immediate neurosurgery. He was confused for days, but by now the neurologist says his scans are normal—“for a person of eighty-five.” The qualification troubles Marta, but Kiril, who after all has a medical education, continues to insist his old friend represent him. In the courtroom, Stern has always been his best self. Yet he also knows that here, the truth emerges through a fierce struggle between the sides that will push him to his very limits.

But for fifty-nine years, Stern has approached every case almost as if he, as much as his client, were on trial. Each day consumes his entire spirit; he will sleep fitfully, as the witnesses take over his dreams. The worst moment, as always, came this morning, the first day of the actual trial, always like a play’s opening night. Anxiety was a rodent gnawing on his heart, and the office was in bedlam. Pinky, his granddaughter, was ranting about misfires with the computer slides for Stern’s opening. Marta was dashing to and from the conference room issuing last-minute directions for legal research to four young lawyers on loan to Stern & Stern. Vondra, Stern’s assistant, kept invading his office to check his trial bag, while in the hallways it looked as if the entire support staff was building the pyramids, loading a long handcart with the huge transfer cases of documents and office equipment that would be needed in the courtroom. In his few instants alone, Stern focused on his opening, trying to etch it into memory, an effort cut short when Kiril and Donatella arrived for a final briefing, during which Stern was required to project an air of utter calm.

And yet this is the life he has been reluctant to forsake. It is not ego or money, the tabloid version of his motives, that have kept him working. The reasons are more personal and complex, for whatever the frequent frustrations of practicing law, the plain truth is that Mr. Alejandro Stern has adored it: The rushing about, the telephone calls, the small breaks of light in the tangle of egos and rules. His clients, his clients! For him, no siren song could be more enticing than an anguished call from someone in dire straits—in his early years, a hooligan in the precinct lockup, or as happens more typically these days, a businessperson with a federal agent at the door. He has always answered with the majestic calm of a superhero: ‘Speak to no one. I shall be there momentarily.’ What was it? What was this mad devotion to people who were often scoundrels, hoping to avoid a punishment that even Stern knew they deserved, who balked at paying fees, who lied to him routinely, and who scorned him the moment a case was lost? They needed him. Needed him! These weak, injured, even buffoonish characters required the assistance of Mr. Alejandro Stern to make their way. Their lives teetered on the cliff edge of destruction. They wept in his office and swore to murder their turncoat comrades. When sanity returned, they dried their eyes and waited, pathetically, for Stern to tell them what to do. ‘Now,’ he would say quietly. The work of six decades reduced to a few words.

If some of the central figures in his life—his first wife, Clara, the mother of his children, who died a suicide in 1989; or Peter, his eldest child; or, in rare moods, Helen, who left Stern a widower again two years ago—if they were present to hear Stern sing lyrics about his clients, his family would ask pointedly, ‘And what about us?’ To their implicit accusation, Stern, ironically, has no defense. The brute fact is that his energies and attention have often been entirely consumed by the courtroom, leaving less than he would have liked for the people he claims to love. All he can offer in response is candor: This is the life I needed to live. At eighty-five, he is certain that without it, he never would have known himself.




2. The Witnesses

Timeline of Critical Events
12/9/14

FDA designates g-Livia as Breakthrough Therapy

4/1/15

Eighteen-month clinical trial of g-Livia begins

9/15/16

Kiril Pafko learns of sudden deaths of clinical trial patients on g-Livia; trial database altered to omit deaths

10/27/16

PT submits altered database to FDA for g-Livia approval

1/16/17

g-Livia approved for sale by FDA

8/7/18

K. Pafko tells reporter he’s never heard of sudden deaths of g-Livia patients; sells $20 million worth of PT stock

12/12/18

Kiril Pafko indicted

In his opening, Moses was himself, methodical but brief. His great gift with juries is sticking to essentials, and he did a good job explaining a somewhat complicated case, illuminating his ‘Timeline’ on a sixty-inch monitor wheeled in front of the witness stand. Moses’s account started in 2014, when Pafko Therapeutics presented the FDA with early test results for g-Livia. Patients with non–small-cell lung cancer who’d received the medication even for a few months showed dramatic improvements compared to those on the current standard therapies. The disease spread more slowly, and in many cases tumors had actually receded.

The FDA granted g-Livia Breakthrough Therapy designation, which could speed the testing and approval process. In consultation with agency experts, PT planned an eighteen-month clinical trial of g-Livia. Assuming the product again showed the same clear benefits and extended lives, the medication would proceed to final FDA approval and become available for prescription years earlier than normal.

Days away from the completion of that trial in September 2016, troubling reports reached Kiril, through his son, Lep, PT’s medical director. Starting in the thirteenth month of the test, roughly a dozen patients at clinical sites around the world had died suddenly for unaccountable reasons that seemed to have no connection to their cancer. Instead of leaving the matter to a panel of outside experts who, by protocol, were supposed to investigate such reports, Kiril looked into the issue on his own. According to Lep, Kiril told him he had consulted the company in Taiwan administering the trial, which quickly recognized that there had been no sudden deaths. A simple coding error had mislabeled patients who had withdrawn from the study—as patients always do—as fatalities.

The database was changed—corrected, Kiril might say—and soon after submitted to the FDA. In January 2017, the FDA approved g-Livia for sale to the public. PT’s share price skyrocketed, especially after a bidding war erupted between two large pharma companies to buy the concern. But in August 2018, before the acquisition by Tolliver, the winner, was completed, a reporter from the Wall Street Journal phoned Kiril, seeking comment on a pending story. The Journal was about to publish an investigative piece stating that after more than a year on g-Livia, isolated cancer patients were dying suddenly of a suspected allergic reaction. Kiril told the reporter he knew nothing about any sudden deaths, but moments after he put down the phone, he secretly ordered the sale of roughly $20 million worth of PT stock. Once the Journal story appeared, the value of Pafko Therapeutics shares plummeted, crashing almost completely several weeks later, when the FDA publicly questioned the clinical trial data for g-Livia. Kiril Pafko’s indictment by a federal grand jury in Kindle County followed soon after.

In presenting this summary, Moses has used only forty of the fifty minutes Judge Klonsky has allotted to each side for opening statements. His brevity is meant to signal to the jurors that despite the foreign world of drug testing, the crime is clear. But the US Attorney’s simplifications create some opportunities for the defense. Stern asks Moses to bring the Timeline back up on the monitor, a request the prosecutor may not refuse but which causes obvious consternation at the prosecution table, where nine investigators and lawyers are seated. Aside from Moses, the only other person there who will address the jury is a lean young assistant US Attorney with a glossy mop of black hair named Daniel Feld, presently typing on his laptop with the passion of a concert pianist.

“As always,” Stern says now to the jury, after elaborating on Kiril’s presumption of innocence and the government’s heavy burden of proof, “there are two sides to the story and some vital facts Mr. Appleton chose not to mention to you. At the very heart of the charges that the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt”—Stern, as ever, speaks the last four words with slow weight—“is their claim that Kiril Pafko is responsible for altering the results for the clinical trial of g-Livia in September 2016, erasing evidence of a dozen sudden, baffling deaths. Despite all the fanfare—testimony from Dr. Pafko’s colleagues, forensic analysis of Kiril’s office computer, records of his phone calls—after all of that, you will learn that”—Stern pauses before again laying emphasis on the next words—“Dr. Kiril Pafko altered nothing. Not in September 2016 or any other time. Nothing.”

With that, Stern nods to Pinky, who is triggering her laptop to display slides on the giant monitor, emphasizing Stern’s principal points. The Timeline fades out and the phrase “Kiril altered nothing” appears on-screen. Pinky, who is also at times her grandfather’s roommate, is a frequently infuriating employee. Marta would have fired her sister’s daughter long ago, but Stern continues to hold out hope. Still, he could not contain a swell of relief that Pinky actually showed up at work this morning, or again now when it appears she’s kept the slides in the correct order.

“But didn’t Mr. Appleton say the results were altered? Yes. But not by Kiril. The changes were made in Taiwan, by Dr. Wendy Hoh, who works for the company that was conducting these trials for PT. You will see Dr. Hoh as a witness, and you will have an opportunity to listen to her. The evidence will show you that her reasons for altering this database were not as the government describes.

“In point of fact, you will see that the motives the government imagines are often just that—imaginary. For example, Mr. Appleton suggested that Dr. Pafko committed this fraud in order to become a megamillionaire. Yes, the value of PT’s stock rose steeply once g-Livia was approved by the FDA. g-Livia is a remarkable medication, and it was no surprise that big pharma companies immediately wanted to buy PT. But since g-Livia was first given Breakthrough Therapy designation, from that day until today, Kiril Pafko has not grown a penny richer personally by selling PT stock. Mr. Appleton did not think it was important to tell you that.”

Pinky reveals a note on the screen reiterating that Kiril made no money, while Stern, accompanied by the solid thump of his cane, again moves toward the jurors, pleased that he seems to have their attention. They are the face of America, all colors, half from the suburbs, seven from Kindle County, their ages ranging from lively-looking Mrs. Murtaugh, a widow of eighty-two, to Don Something, a hip young guy with a ponytail who wants to teach high school. He is already keeping a close eye on Pinky, whom people her age seem to regard as attractive, despite what her grandfather sees as bizarre affectations like the Day-Glo tattoos frescoed on her arms or the nail through her nose.

“But didn’t Mr. Appleton say that Dr. Pafko was charged with securities fraud for insider trading, that he sold PT stock right after he received the first call from that Wall Street Journal reporter? Yes. But I am not sure you would understand from Mr. Appleton’s summary that the stock that was sold was in trust for Dr. Pafko’s grandchildren.” Stern utters that word triumphantly, even though he is well aware that under the insider trading laws, the fact that Kiril’s grandchildren profited, rather than Kiril himself, is inconsequential. The jurors will not learn that for weeks, until Judge Klonsky gives them instructions on the law, and at the moment, Marta and Stern are unsure what else they can offer in defense of these charges.

Genre:

  • "In this meticulously devised courtroom drama, rich with character detail, Turow again demonstrates what he does best: roll out a complex, keenly observed legal case yet save a boatload of surprises for its ending. And make it personal."—New York Times
  • "Since Presumed Innocent rocked the publishing world, Scott Turow has cemented his status as a writer with few peers in any genre. Now the master is back with a brilliant courtroom chess match that shows us the human quotient in all its rot and virtue. The Last Trial is a first class legal thriller."—David Baldacci, #1 New York Times bestselling author
  • "Scott Turow set the gold standard for the modern legal thriller . . . A valedictory-tinged work."—Wall Street Journal
  • "One of the major writers in America."—NPR
  • "No one tells this sort of story better than Turow. No one has illuminated the human side of the legal profession with such precision and care. The Last Trial is Scott Turow at his best and most ambitious. He has elevated the genre once again."—Washington Post
  • "Turow writes like a dream [with] revelations and surprises aplenty . . . Though the trial is center stage, it will be Turow's characters who linger in the mind."—Chicago Tribune
  • "This is thriller writing of the highest order, at once a brilliant character study and superb exploration of the nature, and relative merits, of the truth."—Providence Journal
  • "The master of the courtroom drama."—Daniel Silva, #1 New York Times bestselling author
  • "Turow has established the gold standard for legal thrillers for decades, and he delivers another bar-raising example of his talent here, with his signature absorbing legal details, cerebral suspense, and fascinatingly flawed characters all on full view."—Booklist, Starred Review
  • "This legal mystery tells a fascinating story smoothly and compellingly . . . Turow has a gift for portraying what could be boring courtroom procedurals as gripping dramas . . . A truly terrific read."—Forbes
  • "[The Last Trial] gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues . . . Strongly felt."—Kirkus
  • "A fascinating portrait of friendship tested and revealed, as well as a pitch-perfect courtroom thriller."—CrimeReads
  • "A timely, whip-smart legal thriller about aging, justice, and what we owe the people we love."—AARP
  • "Scott Turow [is] arguably the godfather of the modern legal thriller . . . Seasoned pro that he is, Turow ratchet[s] up the tension while considering the implications of deceit, finance, Big Pharma and the physical and mental trials of aging."—Seattle Times
  • "It is fitting that Sandy Stern, who has appeared in multiple Turow novels, ends his career in this extraordinary literary accomplishment. The novel's ruminations on retirement and the practice of law are thoughtful and heartfelt."—Illinois Times
  • "Turow has a gift for transforming issues of the day into riveting, suspenseful courtroom thrillers . . . Tension mounts in Turow's courtroom as deft legal maneuvering propels the suspense."—National Book Review
  • "[Scott Turow] has not lost his edge."—Financial Times
  • "The Last Trial is another excellent courtroom drama by a proven master of the legal thriller . . . Turow is smart enough to stick to what he does best -- a solid legal thriller with a page-turning story, an excellent main character, and fresh insight into subject matter that extends naturally from the trial at the center of the novel."—New York Journal of Books
  • "The Last Trial deserves a place atop the legal-thriller genre . . . no one connects parallels quite like Turow, and he injects them into his books with high frequency . . . sheer bliss for the reader with the horsepower to recognize and savor a piece of classic fiction."—Washington Independent Review of Books
  • "Twisty . . . a page-turner that makes a trial centered on fraud and insider trading fascinating. Turow remains in a class of his own in conveying the subtleties of criminal defense work while also entertaining his readers."—Publishers Weekly
  • "Highly suspenseful . . . Everyone wants to see Stern wrap up his career with a win -- but Turow has surprises and roadblocks up his literary sleeve that will make this very difficult. As a character, Stern really does go out with a bang."—Book Reporter
  • "Amazingly instructive . . . amid all the heavy-duty learning, Turow treats us to one chapter that is as darkly comic as anything he has written. Check it out."—Toronto Star
  • "Turow is good, like, really good, and his works are quite cerebral for the genre, primarily set in the courtroom."—Winnipeg Free Press
  • "In Turow's latest work of fiction The Last Trial, there are legal turns aplenty [and] several dollops of suspense . . . memorable, intelligent, and ultimately humane."—Houston Press
  • "The richness of The Last Trial extends beyond the courtroom scenes which on their own compel attention . . . Turow's prose, smart and straightforward without affectation, achieves elegance in its impassioned commitment to our judicial way of life."—WSHU Public Radio
  • "Turow has long proven to be one of the top legal thriller novelists in the game."—The Real Book Spy
  • "Turow takes care to demystify cancer research and the FDA approval process, along with a tutorial on the restrictions imposed on the stock deals of company officers. But beyond medical and financial ethics, Turow takes on complicated relationships."—Mystery Scene magazine
  • "Turow takes readers into the courtroom with Sandy Stern one last time. Pacing in front of the jury box with him, we experience both celebration and mourning."—The Big Thrill
  • "The Last Trial weds a page-turner urgency to the authentic trial expertise that served Turow through nine years as an assistant U.S. attorney and another 34 as a pro bono defense lawyer."—Naples Daily News
  • "The Last Trial will leave you turning page after page in suspense."—Long Island Weekly
  • "You won't want to put this book down . . . a fascinating legal thriller."—Red Carpet Crash
  • "[The Last Trial] features great characterization . . . and a knack for explaining while entertaining."—Florida Keys Weekly
  • "A gripping and intricate legal thriller."—She Reads
  • "We are glad that The Last Trial is not the last word from one of the great authors of our times, Scott Turow." —CBA Record

On Sale
Jan 26, 2021
Page Count
464 pages
ISBN-13
9781538748091

Scott Turow

About the Author

Scott Turow is the author of many bestselling works of fiction, including Testimony, Identical, Innocent, Presumed Innocent, and The Burden of Proof, and two nonfiction books, including One L, about his experience as a law student. His books have been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and have been adapted into movies and television projects. He has frequently contributed essays and op-ed pieces to publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic.

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