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Presumed Innocent (Kindle County Legal Thriller #1)

4.09  ·  Rating Details ·  92,550 Ratings  ·  1,071 Reviews
The novel that launched Turow's career as one of America's pre-eminent thriller writers tells the story of Rusty Sabicch, chief deputy prosecutor in a large Midwestern city. With three weeks to go in his boss' re-election campaign, a member of Rusty's staff is found murdered; he is charged with finding the killer, until his boss loses and, incredibly, Rusty finds himself a ...more
ebook, 448 pages
Published December 31st 1986 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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  • Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
    Presumed Innocent
    Release date: May 30, 2017
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    Community Reviews

    (showing 1-30)
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    I had this weird dream last night. I was at the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, and... here, let me give you my reconstruction...

    HILLARY CLINTON: [on podium, in front of huge crowd] And now, our prosecutor is going to read out a list of indictments against my opponent, Donald Trump. I want you all to say whether you think he's innocent or... GUILTY!

    PROSECUTOR: Thank you Hillary. Let's get started. Indictment one: sexual assault. Jill Harth recently accused Donald Trump o
    Apr 17, 2012 Richard rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: legal-thriller

    An enjoyable legal thriller that really hits it stride in the courtroom and less so in the bits outside of the courtroom. I thought it was an interesting, and quite novel, idea to set the first pages after the murder has occurred and then fill in the blanks as you go along. A lot of back story was needed to get the reader up to speed and this is when things were a little slow and sometimes less interesting with the political campaign less absorbing but we know what is just around the corner.
    Jul 30, 2011 Sheri rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    A renowned attorney in the DA's office is having an affair with a sex crimes attorney. When she turns up dead and it looks like rape, he is pinned as the murderer. The majority of the book takes place in the courtroom but it is by no means dull. You'll never guess who was the real killer!

    At first, the book starts out as brash, crude and offensive at times because of the 'cop talk' banter. It was too explicit for my tastes and I nearly put the book down for good. I am glad I hung in there becaus
    I'm surprised I didn't like this. The reader was pretty good, but I just didn't like the way the author wrote. There was too much back story dumping irrelevant data that detracted from the main story. I might have stuck with it longer, except I didn't like the main character enough.
    Scott Rhee
    Jun 18, 2013 Scott Rhee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: mystery
    I met Scott Turow when he came to visit my college to promote "Presumed Innocent", which I thought was a great book at the time. I haven't read it in almost 20 years (Christ, has it been that long since I was in college?), but I remember some of the details in his writing that made him stand out from all the other best-selling thriller writers out there, most notably John Grisham. Both of them were inevitably compared to each other because of their courtroom settings and knowledge of the legal p ...more
    Jane Stewart
    3 stars. Some parts very good, I was eager to know what would happen. Other parts average.

    Married prosecutor Rusty is accused of murdering his former lover. The first third of the book is what happens prior to the indictment. The last two-thirds is primarily the trial. It’s told in first person by Rusty.

    This did not have the typical bad guy killer. I liked the unusual plot and motivations. I saw the movie several years ago and I remembered who did it, which was th
    Sep 12, 2011 Michaela rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: books-i-own, fiction
    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
    Apr 26, 2010 Gaby rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: legal-thriller
    I first read Presumed Innocent almost fifteen years ago. I'd been thinking of going to law school and Presumed Innocent is on the list of books that many law schools send you the summer before you begin studying. I remember thinking that the book spent more time on legal technicalities than the other thrillers that I'd read. Reading Presumed Innocent with an eye to joining the profession gave it a certain air as well.

    Now after years as an entirely different sort of lawyer, the detective work, le
    Ned Hayes
    Sep 06, 2011 Ned Hayes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Presumed Innocent is one of those landmark books that really demonstrated to readers what a legal story, a "law novel" was actually capable of doing. Turow's work in this debut novel is so far above John Grisham's or Steve Martini's popular entertainments of legal "thrillers."

    In this first novel, Turow really demonstrates the full reach and complexity of the human soul under duress. I admire the hell out of Turow for creating this complex story as his first breakthrough novel, and I so wish tha
    Aug 13, 2010 Grant rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: fiction
    Some lawyers should become writers, others should not. Scott Turow falls squarely in the latter category. Once you realize that half this novel can be skipped, as it is useless exposition about characters the author fails to make sympathetic in the first place, it becomes a much shorter read. Combine that with the fact that half the character descriptions border on, if not delve fully into, racism, it may not be worth reading at all. (I'm sure Turow would say it's the character speaking and not ...more
    B the BookAddict
    Jun 04, 2013 B the BookAddict rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: fiction
    I must admit that I saw the movie first, then read the book. But the book is so much better. I love the fact that Turow is a lawyer writing about the law; he knows his stuff. Even taking that into account, Turow does not weigh the reader down with too much legalese, something that adds to the book's success. This novel was the first that I read of this author: but definitely not my last. 4★
    Asghar Abbas
    Feb 20, 2016 Asghar Abbas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

    Excellent, excellent, excellent. Even if it was saddled with a typical denouement. Still excellent.
    Jun 18, 2013 Supratim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    This is one of the best books that I have read recently. It is a great legal thriller cum murder mystery. No wonder the book finds mention in both the top 100 mystery/crime novel lists published by the Britain-based Crime Writers' Association and by the Mystery Writers of America. Both the lists were published in the nineties and feature some of the finest specimens of crime writing. The lists can be found here - Link

    The story is narrated by Rozat K. Sabich aka Rusty, chief deputy prosecutor of
    Sep 25, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Recommended to Donna by: crime genre study
    Read Again 07/03/16 for Maze mystery book group.

    I always remember whodunit, but here I forgot most of the surrounding facts. Truly some of the best courtroom scenes ever.

    This book came out in 1987. At that time (and since) I was keeping track of my reading, however this does not appear on any list I have. But I remembered who-dun-it.

    I have been a fan of Scott Turow's writing since 1981 when, just before entering law school, I read his "One L" -- a fantastic book. As a former federal prosecutor
    Mike (the Paladin)
    Well, here we go. Not a book I hate but a book that I couldn't get into. I would ordinarily go with 2 stars on a "I don't love and I don't hate it' book but for a couple of reasons I lift this one to 3. First the book did interest me at first and the author's writing is good. The 'voice" of the story telling character was at least at first interesting. Secondly there was a problem that might not effect other readers.

    Now what didn't I care for...what killed my interest? I think there were a coupl
    Jul 23, 2011 Kurt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I have heard Scott Turow described as "the thinking man's John Grisham," and to the extent that the expression is a compliment, this debut novel justifies the praise. I had read two minor Turow novels before this one, so I was familiar with one of the minor characters (Turow sets his stories in the fictional Kindle County, and familiar faces pop up from book to book) and Turow's intriguing writing style: outside the courtroom, he tends to narrate in a poetic voice that employs an educated and pr ...more
    Dec 01, 2011 Debra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    The brutal murder of coworker, Carolyn Polhemus, has unnerved chief deputy prosecuting attorney, Rusty Sabich. Carolyn was a former lover, a woman who still preoccupied his thoughts, much to his shame. Rusty had confessed his adultery to his wife, and is trying hard to keep the marriage together for the sake of their son. His boss, Raymond Horgan, is in the midst of a campaign and wants Rusty in charge of Carolyn’s case, which puts him in an awkward position. But things go from awkward to shocki ...more
    Jul 16, 2010 Lucca rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    There are times when I read a paragraph again, not because I didn’t understand it but because the author uses language so beautifully. Scott Turow obviously delights in the use of the English language. Such delight would be wasted if he didn’t also come up aces in the plot and character department. He captured my attention from the start although not so much with the plot, at first, as with his acerbic descriptions of the characters. By the time I needed to figure out who did what, I knew who wa ...more
    Feb 07, 2008 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Brilliant. A classic. Read it. The movie was very faithful to the novel, so if you've seen it, the ending's blown for you.

    If you haven't seen the movie you're very lucky to have one of the best mysteries ever written waiting for you.
    Apr 26, 2017 Michael rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    I recently re-read this, and it's still wonderful. The writing is sharp and brooding, and the plotting is superb.
    Larry Bassett
    Oct 25, 2011 Larry Bassett rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: mystery
    Presumed Innocent was published in 1987. This is another one of those twenty-five year old books that I seem to read frequently and some say is quite dated. I remember those days pretty well; I was in graduate school at SUNY at Stony Brook on Long Island. It was after computers but before cell phones. In my mind I can be living in the 1980s!

    What happens when a top lawyer in the office of the prosecuting attorney is charged with murder? Presumed Innocent is about an experienced lawyer being pros
    Voted #5 of 100 best mysteries of all time by Mystery Writers of America ( and see also World Magazine January 12/19, 2008, pg. 27).
    I found this at a used book sale for $1. Remembering that it was brilliant and I wanted to read it again with the murderer in mind, I decided to buy and read it once more and then sell it. I recalled that I had a severe caution on it, but thought I could just scan through the parts that were too spicy.

    However, living
    Mark Oppenlander
    I first read this murder-mystery cum legal thriller back in college. At the time I was blown away by the twists and turns and the "gotcha" ending. It made me a life-long Scott Turow fan. Coming back to re-read it 20 years later, I found the plot more straightforward than I had recalled but was newly impressed by the depth and subtelty of the characterizations and the quality of the language.

    For those unfamiliar with it, "Presumed Innocent" is the story of Rusty Sabich, a Deputy Prosecuting Attor
    June Ahern
    Presumed Innocent was one of my favorite books and the movie with Harrison Ford, also very good. So eagerly I began Scott Turow’s sequel, Innocent. It won't make my favorite book list.

    Its 25 years later and attorney Rusty is still with his wife (if you didn’t read the first book I won’t say why I’m saying - really???? – that’s a stretch and as this story continues the stretch gets tighter and tighter.) Rusty just turned 60 with a party and all. And shortly after we read he still can’t keep his p
    Mark Soone
    Sep 26, 2011 Mark Soone rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: legal-thriller
    It must be close to 20 years or more since I had read this, and I found myself remembering very little.

    I found the first quarter of the book very dry and flirted with the idea of scrapping this. But what turned out to be dry and tedious was really an elaborate and methodically woven background for the ensuing story and trial. It developed into one of the classic courtroom dramas, with one of the most deftly developed defense lawyers and story lines.

    An prominent assistant prosecutor accused, of k
    Nov 09, 2013 Britany rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: wbn, books-to-film
    Rusty Sabich, chief prosecutor of Kindle County finds himself in hot water when Carolyn Polhemus, a recent lover and current colleague winds up murdered. Rusty gets the case, and before he knows what hits him, he ends up thrown into the ring and being tried for her murder.

    Sandy Stern, hot shot defense attorney presents a solid case, and Rusty goes from the prosecution side to the defense side.

    For me, this was a solid read, just a little slow for a legal thriller than I would've liked. I found m
    May 30, 2014 Dan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: own
    I thought I read this book a long time ago, or maybe I saw the movie starring Harrison Ford back in 1990. It turns out I did neither because after I read 5 chapters, I said there's no way I read this book or saw the movie, I would have remembered the story.
    "Presumed Innocent" is a well-written story and one I found truly fascinating. The best part for me was the trial, but that doesn't happen until the 26th chapter. If you can hold on until then, you're in for a treat; the actual trial made me l
    Barbara ★
    Mar 07, 2009 Barbara ★ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
    Rusty Sabich, a deputy prosecuting attorney, is ousted after his boss is defeated for re-election and Rusty's rival, Nico is elected as prosecuting attorney. The rape and murder of Carolyn Polhemus, Rusty
    s mistress and another lawyer in the prosecutors office, is pinned on Rusty. His trial is the main focus of the book.

    This is well written and has great surprises and an ending I truly did not see coming. I thought I had this one figured out early on but boy I was way off base.
    Sep 04, 2007 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
    Shelves: mystery, thriller
    Well, my wife, who is much better at this than I, guessed the true murder suspect long before I did, but even so, I think I would have been impressed by the richly conceived characters and complex plot. Turow is a truly gifted writer who brought his expertise of prosecution and criminal trials to bear on this breakthrough book.
    طارق الشحي
    رواية جميلة أجاد كاتبها حبكها و إظهار مدى ضعف الإنسان أمام نزواته الشهوانية للجنس الآخر . و تبعات هذه النزوات التي أودت في النهاية بزوجته التي آثرت الانتحار لتحيك الدلائل التي صوبت أصابع الإتهام نحو زوجها .
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    • The Manchurian Candidate
    • The 13th Juror (Dismas Hardy, #4)
    • Six Days of the Condor
    • Marathon Man
    • The Tenth Justice
    • Eye of the Needle
    • After Dark
    Scott Turow is the author of ten bestselling works of fiction, including 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 fre ...more
    More about Scott Turow...

    Other Books in the Series

    Kindle County Legal Thriller (10 books)
    • The Burden of Proof (Kindle County Legal Thriller, #2)
    • Pleading Guilty (Kindle County Legal Thriller, #3)
    • The Laws Of Our Fathers (Kindle County, #4)
    • Personal Injuries (Kindle County Legal Thriller, #5)
    • Reversible Errors (Kindle County Legal Thriller, #6)
    • Limitations (Kindle County Legal Thriller, #7)
    • Innocent (Kindle County Legal Thriller, #8)
    • Identical (Kindle County Legal Thriller, #9)
    • Testimony

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