Jane Stewart's Reviews > Presumed Innocent

Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow
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's review
Mar 13, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: legal-mystery

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 the same as in the book. But other things were very different between the movie and the book. During the first third, I was impatient for things to happen. It seemed too drawn out, getting to know various characters: lawyers, cops, wife, lover. Then when Rusty was indicted for the murder of Carolyn I was frustrated. I was anxious about the ending. Would it be happy or not? I didn’t want to invest another ten hours, just to be let down and depressed at the end. So I read the last chapter which summarized many of the details, and I was relieved. I liked the ending for Rusty. Then I went back to where I left off at his indictment and listened to the rest of the book. My enjoyment from that point on was much better than when I was worrying about the ending. The last two-thirds is mostly about evidence and watching the judge and the lawyers on each side. At times it was exciting. Sometimes it was slow. For someone like me, I’d recommend reading the last chapter (40) first, then go to the beginning and read the whole book. As a result I paid more attention to key characters. Since I knew certain things would happen, I was eagerly anticipating those events thinking “when’s this going to happen?”

There were two scenes describing torture and brutality which bothered me. I wish the author had NOT included them. They were about other cases the prosecutor worked on. One a small boy tortured by his mother. Another a man put in prison, raped, and suffered permanent damage to his body.

The narrator Edward Herrmann was fine.

Unabridged audiobook reading time: 15 hrs and 33 mins. Swearing language: strong, including religious swear words. Sexual language: moderate. Sexual content: About 7 sex scenes, mostly referred to, not a lot of detail shown. Setting: current day mid-sized city and suburbs in the U.S. Book Copyright: 1987. Genre: legal mystery. Ending: Good enough for those who want happy endings.
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Reading Progress

Started Reading
March 13, 2012 – Shelved
March 13, 2012 – Shelved as: legal-mystery
March 13, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Scott (new)

Scott Hey I have a question. Is this book explicit? Moreover, sexually explicit? Thanks

Jane Stewart Scott wrote: "Hey I have a question. Is this book explicit? Moreover, sexually explicit? Thanks"

The words penis and c*ck are used, but not frequently. Some activities are briefly described like Carolyn doing something and asking “does your wife do this for you?” But the sex scenes are not detailed the way they are in hot and heavy explicit romance novels. It has the feeling of “he entered her,” rather than lots of buildup and details. I hope this answers things. I’m sorry I don’t remember as much as I wish I did.

message 3: by Solim (new)

Solim I dont get why you would read the last chapter first and ruin the book for your self. The whole point of a mystery is to be led on, given a few clues here and there and try to guess who the bad guy is. The way you did it defeats the purpose of a mystery/psychological thriller.

Jane Stewart Solim,
This is an example of how we readers are sooo different. Sometimes I hear other readers are disappointed when they guess something too soon in the book. For me, that’s not a problem. I enjoy watching how the characters learn things and how they solve the mystery. So I guess my joy is watching the characters solve the puzzle instead of me trying to solve it.

BTW most of the time I don’t read the endings, but sometimes I do. Thanks for your opinion.

message 5: by Pat (new) - rated it 5 stars

Pat C. I almost always read the ending when I'm about ¼ to ½ way through a book. I used to feel guilty about it but then I realized that I could actually enjoy the writing a lot more than if I raced through it to get to the end.
What I don't get is why anyone could possibly care how another person reads a book. With a few minor exceptions (e.g. having it read out loud in a group) it is a completely private and personal activity.

Jane Stewart Pat,
I so agree with you. When I find myself wanting to race through to the end, that's when I jump to the end, and then go back and read the rest at a comfortable pace - so much more enjoyable. Thanks.

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