In this sequel to Turow’s Presumed Innocent, Judge Rusty Savich is back with his brilliant but rage-filled bipolar wife Barbara, anguished over the state of his marriage, fearful of his imminent 60th birthday and once more vulnerable to the call of the wild—this time, with his lovely young assistant Anna. In the first book, Savich’s lust-filled affair preceded the woman’s horrible rape/murder and Savich barely escaped conviction for the crime.
In Innocent, Savich’s new love affair flares, but his guilt overwhelms him and he eventually ends it. Still, he freaks when Anna and Rusty’s son Nat fall madly in love with each other. Barbara uncovers the affair and evidence that Rusty had been considering a divorce, and shortly thereafter she ends up dead in Rusty’s bed. Lightning rarely strikes twice, so everyone presumes the death is of natural causes due to her heart problems, but Savich’s nemesis from Presumed Innocent, prosecutor Tommy Molto, suspects that it was anything but and when it is learned that Savich waited a full 24 hours before calling the police, Molto and his driven sidekick Jim Barnes are convinced that Savich is once again trying to get away with murder, and are determined to stop him at all costs. Throw in the fact that Savich is just weeks away from winning election to the State Supreme Court, and you’ve got a first-rate legal thriller with all the right ingredients of sex, murder and politics.
Turow is at his best when dealing with courtroom drama and all the legal machinations that swirl around it, and he doesn’t disappoint. The reader gets ping-ponged throughout the case: did he do it or didn’t he, did she do it or didn’t she, and we get masterfully misdirected at every turn. Turow is also an expert at delving into the psychological makeup of his characters, and his chapters skip around from one point of view to the next, so that we get to hear from Rusty, his son, Anna, and Molto in their own words and thoughts. Possibly the most interesting character of all, Molto is newly married and a new father in his late middle age, and while haunted by Savich (this case and the previous one), he is also desperate to turn the page and move on. Turow has given us a good whodunit, whose ending leaves the door open for yet another sequel, should Hollywood come a’calling.