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Presumed Innocent

(Kindle County Legal Thriller #1)

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  106,616 ratings  ·  1,550 reviews
Hailed as the most suspenseful and compelling novel in decades. Presumed Innocent brings to life our worst nightmare: that of an ordinary citizen facing conviction for the most terrible of all crimes. It's the stunning portrayal of one man's all-too-human, all-consuming fatal attraction for a passionate woman who is not his wife, and the story of how his obsession puts eve ...more
Mass Market Paperback, Warner Books edition, 421 pages
Published 1988 by Warner Books Inc (first published December 31st 1986)
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Jill A lot of F words, graphic sex, and many references to oral sex. All gratuitous in an otherwise fascinating story. Too bad. Wish I’d known before I got…moreA lot of F words, graphic sex, and many references to oral sex. All gratuitous in an otherwise fascinating story. Too bad. Wish I’d known before I got hooked wanting to know whodunnit.(less)
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Avinash Kumar because they had enough evidence from crime scene itself to nail him.

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Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Erin (from Long Island, NY)
Jul 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Now i get what all the praise is about! If anything i enjoyed it more than i had hoped, even after reading its accolades. I mean what else can i say?! It deserves all it got! & imo it's still in a league of its own, so many years (& great legal thrillers) later. But i do really want to recommend the audiobook. The narrator was exceptional!! You could feel the tension. It's a long 1 (about 16 hours) but i genuinely wasn't bored for a second. I felt like i could close my eyes & be IN that courtroo ...more
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
S.P. Aruna
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: thriller-mystery
First of all, I was more than surprised to find out that Turow came before Grisham. This book was published in 1987 while Grisham's first novel, A Time to Kill came out a year later, and actually encouraged Grisham to embark on a writing career.

Presumed Innocent is a well crafted blend of mystery and legal thriller. The plot has many twists and turns and the reader is empathizing with Rusty Sabich all the way. It has great court room scenes, sharp dialogue, and good character development, filled
Apr 17, 2012 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.
Scott Rhee
Jun 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I recently re-read this, and it's still wonderful. The writing is sharp and brooding, and the plotting is superb.
Aug 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Book 1 of the Kindle County series.

For the most part this was a well constructed courtroom thriller. I say “for the most part” for there were aspects of the book that I had some problems with. Much of the dialogue was written in the local vernacular, which is all well and fine if the reader is conversant with the local vernacular but if not it was a bit like reading a foreign language at times.
But apart from that, as I said earlier, it’s a clever, well constructed courtroom thriller.
The premise
Davyne DeSye
Mar 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific murder mystery, as well as being a fun legal thriller. Having spent decades as a lawyer, I often find that books featuring lawyers, the law, and courtroom scenes often contain errors – and this one doesn’t! (It completely messes with my suspension of disbelief if in legal fiction, I end up thinking, “That wouldn’t have been allowed.”)

I picked this book up because I recently re-watched the movie (which I love)… and there was one area in the movie that – while not wrong or impos
Aug 23, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Presumed Innocent is the quintessential bestseller, the prose is polished without having any personality or punch. The mystery is interesting without outright flaws but it falls apart the more you think about it. The less you have read of the genre, the more you will enjoy it. Rusty Sabich, deputy DA is investigating the death of a female colleague while a heated DA election rages on. Politics and forensics doom him as the major suspect and he had an affair with the deceased so he is soon on tri ...more
Jun 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars ... It was just a little too long. Otherwise, this was a stellar reading experience.

I'm doing a bunch of challenges this year. And a couple led me to reading this book, & to reading Turow for the first time. And I'm
so grateful for that. I might not have gotten around to this otherwise, & that would be a shame.

This book has been out for over 30 years, & made into a movie. So there isn't much I can add to the conversation around it. I'll just say it's as much a character study as it is a
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.
Jul 30, 2011 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
aPriL does feral sometimes
‘Presumed Innocent’ by Scott Turow is very literary in tone because of the main character’s internal monologues and his mournful story narration. Chief Prosecutor Rusty Sabich tells of being accused and put on trial for the murder of his ex-lover Carolyn Polhemus. Rusty is married and has a seven-year-old son Nat. His guilt at betraying his wife Barbara and worrying about his son fuels his introspection. Why did he become so enamored with Carolyn Polhemus? The terror of what the future might be ...more
B the BookAddict
Jun 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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★
Jane Stewart
3 ½ 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 t
Sep 12, 2011 rated it did not like it
Shelves: books-i-own, fiction
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Lady Clementina ffinch-ffarowmore
Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rozat “Rusty” Sabich finds himself investigating the murder of co-worker Carolyn Polhemus (with whom he had an affair) amidst a heated election campaign in which his boss Raymond Horgan is seeking re-election. He isn’t making much headway, at least not as fast as is needed, and soon finds tables turned, and himself in the docks charged with Carolyn’s murder. Narrated in first person, the book takes us through Rusty’s indictment and trial, where he has to deal fo ...more
Jack Heath
5 Stars. One of the best of all time. One of the best I have ever read. From the ambiguous meaning of the title to the extraordinary twists in the plot as it nears its denouement, "Presumed Innocent" takes the reader into superlative country. Kindle County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Rusty Sabich was leading a frenetic but stable life as Raymond Horgan's number one, when ADA Carolyn Polhemus entered it. For whatever reason, he reached for her and she soon became his mistress. And shortly, a murd ...more
The Celtic Rebel (Richard)
This book made me fall in love with Scott Turow's writing. I have set myself a goal to read and own all of his books. I had already seen the movie for this book before I read any of it. As often the case, the book was so much better than the movie. Scott Turow is a wonderful writer who draws you into the world he is creating. It is a great book with strong characters, sharp dialogue, memorable court scenes, passion, lust, betrayal, corruption, politics, jealousy, and a great story with many twis ...more
Feb 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: books-i-own, dnf
Couldn't finish this book. I don't know if it was the story, the author or both, but the profanity, the racism, the sexism and the explicit sex scenes were enough to turn me off. I just don't think a book needs to go that way to make it a good book. Bums me out I always try to finish my books. This is probably the 2nd one in as many years.
Jul 23, 2011 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
This was a great read. There were a couple of issues that made me cringe and wish I had fast-forwarded (view spoiler), but I was engrossed for most of the book. I listened to it via Overdrive and I think the narrator was very good, especially as Sandy. I look forward to the next book in this series - it is about Sandy and his family. ...more
Aug 13, 2010 rated it did not like it
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
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Slow start and the dialogue was more about what they didn't say in the courtroom that what they did say and were implying.
While I guessed who was the murderer way before that fact was revealed. I stil did enjoy the book.
(spoiler alert) The wife elaborately planned and framed her husband but when she admitted to the murderer, she stated that she would have confessed to the brutal premediated murder before seeing her husband go to jail-I did not believe her for a minute-she woud have let her unfai
Michael Finocchiaro
This is one of Turow's first legal thrillers, a category which he may have invented as far as I know. If that is your kinda thing, then Turow is your kind of writer. I found it a bit redundant and containing stereotypes and never went back to read it again. I believe it was made into a blockbuster movie with Harrison Ford in 1990. It may be that the film is better than the book but feel free to disagree in the comments!
Dec 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
An excellent murder mystery novel that keeps you guessing to the very end. Well written with strong characters and lots of twists and turns.
Kept me interested throughout.

Apr 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
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
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
Ned Hayes
Sep 06, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
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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

Other books in the series

Kindle County Legal Thriller (1 - 10 of 11 books)
  • The Burden of Proof (Kindle County Legal Thriller #2)
  • Pleading Guilty (Kindle County Legal Thriller #3)
  • The Laws Of Our Fathers (Kindle County Legal Thriller #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 (Kindle County, #10)
  • The Last Trial (Kindle County Book 11)

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