Thursday, October 10, 2013

Review: Identical by Scott Turow

Scott Turow's latest Identical is definitely the must-read legal thriller of the year. Although thriller doesn't seem fair since it isn't really thrilling in the usual sense but there's a mystery just as well that's needed to be solved. Turow's most famous workPresumed Innocent has probably made him an abundance of loyal fans who will buy this book just for his namesake, but the plus is that it's also satisfyingly written. 

Paul and Cass Gianis (a play on the names in the Greek myth Pollux and Castor) are twin brothers who have everything in the world going for them. Paul is soon to be a lawyer while Cass, a little less ambitious, is headed to a future in law enforcement. At times it's hard to know where the other one stops, and the other begins. Their lives are on the right track until the death of Cass' girlfriend Dita changes the course of both their lives.

After 25 years, a long-standing family feud and family secrets boil to the surface when the brother Cass is up for parole after serving his time for the murder of Dita. His brother Paul is by his side the day of his release when Hal Kronon, Dita's brother, yells for all the media to see that Paul Gianis has played a role in her murder as well. This isn't good for someone who's running for Mayor of Kindle County. With a lot of uneasiness, and many secrets, Paul decides to file a defamation lawsuit against Hal which opens up a can of worms that no one is quite prepared to face.

Scott Turow begs readers to question what is truth from what we want to believe. Investigators Evon Miller and Tim Brodie, an unlikely duo, dig into this family's history and start to find twist after twist to the death of Dita. The mystery of her death held me in suspense the entire time. The realness of ALL the characters kept me invested in the outcome of the evidence gathered by the investigative team.

It's obvious that Turow does his research when it gets into the technical details of DNA and how it is processed when deciphering the differences in twins. I appreciated the information, although I probably still couldn't explain half of what was being disclosed. At times I only wish that attention was given to a trial of some sorts. So all you fictitous trial chasers out there beware. Identical is geared more towards the investigative side of cases than the sensationalism of a trial. 

In the interest of full disclosure, I am a huge fan of Scott Turow and Identical only helps me to realize I have great taste in authors. Turow's ability to write real living and breathing characters in a genre that doesn't pay as much attention to that detail is astounding. I always feel that he's the thinking-man's John Grisham. Please don't pelt me with rocks... but that's always the idea I get when reading Turow's work. In conclusion, Identical is highly recommended and begs to question our affinity towards placing people on pedastals that maybe don't belong there.  ****

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