by Scott Turow
reviewed by Scott
Scott Turow is no John Grisham. And that's a
good thing. The two writers sometimes get lumped together because both had
major bestsellers with thrillers about court and suddenly, surprisingly, they
made stories about lawyers exciting and fascinating. Definitely not an easy
But while Grisham has continued cranking out
fluffy thrillers on an almost annual basis, Turow has elected to take his time
and focus more on depth and detail rather than on seeing how many books he can
put out in a decade.
And it has shown.
Compare Turow's last book, The Laws of My
Father, to any of Grisham's. In Sins, Turow manages a simultaneous look at a
thorny legal entanglement in the '90s with ties back to the radical days of the
'60s. A far cry from Grisham's The Firm or The Pelican Brief.
Or look at Turow's new book, Personal Injuries.
While it doesn't have the breadth or the flashbacks of Laws it makes up for
that with interesting characters and surprising twists.
As the book begins, lawyer Robbie Feaver has
been busted by the feds for paying off judges so he can win cases. But rather
than send him to jail the government decides to use him to try to take down the
An FBI agent using the name Evon Miller has
been assigned to watch him as the stings go down. Details about Evon, her real
name, her real history, aren't forthcoming early on, either to the reader or to
Fever, which makes her more intriguing. However, she is a bit too reminiscent
of Agent Starling in "Silence of the Lambs" for the liking of some readers.
At first blush Fever is just another bad
lawyer, interested only in making money and not about helping his clients.
He'll cry to get a client to hire him, for example. He's also a pig when it
comes to women.
But over time Fever grows on you and the reader
and Miller - who can't stand him initially - begins to see that he's not such a
bad guy so much as an idealist caught in a bad situation. He is indeed doing
good for his clients as the ends may indeed be justifying the means. Full of
surprises and a darn good yarn, Personal Injuries is a fun read. Check it out.
But if you want something more substantive, go back and read Laws of My Fathers
Scott Butki is a newspaper reporter in
Hagerstown, Md., who read this curled up in bed preparing for a potentially