|13 July 2016|
Almost all successful legal mystery writers, John Grisham and Richard North Patterson for example, bear a debt of gratitude to ‘Presumed Innocent’ by Scott Turow. The book has been made into a movie by Alan J. Pakula, starring Harrison Ford; Pakula used to make movies from the best of books – ‘All The President’s Men’ and ‘To Kill a Mockingbird’ are cases in point. But it was only after I started writing this column that I picked this book up from (near the top of) my to-read list.
I am a jaded reader of thrillers, who has pretensions of becoming a writer someday. I don’t get amazed by thrillers often. But this one really made me sit up and pay attention. How long has it been that I was up at 3AM, flipping pages of my ebook-reader at such ungodly hours? And that tingle in the stomach while at work, waiting to get back home, to Rusty Sabich’s trial.
The novel is set in the fictional Kindle County, a representation of Chicago. The election for District Attorney is in a few months, and the current DA, Raymond Horgan, and his rival Nico Della Guardia, are in the middle of their campaign trails. Carolyn Polhemus, a beautiful, brilliant prosecuting lawyer who worked for Horgan, is found tied up, raped and brutally murdered in her apartment. Amidst mounting publicity, Horgan appoints Rozat K. ‘Rusty’ Sabich, the Assistant District Attorney and Horgan’s right hand man, to the case. The novel is Rusty Sabich’s first-person recollection of the events that follow.