If you ask me, the best legal thriller writer around (or at least my favourite) is Scott Turow, whose Presumed Innocent (1987) Pretty much kicked off the whole current fad. Oh, sure, John Grisham ships more units and gets most of the press and media attention these days, but Turow is simply the better writer. And Turow writes legal thrillers; not thrillers that happen to have lawyers in them. His novels revolve around points of law as much as they do around his rich, complex and invariably damaged characters.
In Reversible Errors (2002), we meet ARTHUR RAVEN, a lonely, disillusioned middled-aged corporate lawyer from the Chicago burbs who has more than his share of personal problems, including a schizophrenic sister for whom he is responsible. And then he gets saddled by the court with the task of handling the last-minute appeal of quasi-retarded death-row inmate Rommy "Squirrel" Gandolph.
But it turns out Arthur has some fire in his belly and some ideals left after all, not to mention more than a few investigative chops of his own, doggedly pursuing new evidence that might spring his client, and taking on a fiery district attorney and her cop boyfriend, whose testimony helped put Squirrel away in the first place.
In May 2004, CBS aired a mini-series based on the novel, starring the great William H. Macy as Arthur, and co-starring Tom Selleck, Monica Potter and Macy's real-life wife, Felicity Huffman. As an added bonus, the teleplay was by Alan Sharp, the man who wrote Night Moves, one of my all-time favourite P.I. flicks. Suffice it to say I'm looking forward to this one.
One thing I've always admired about Scott Turow is that he doesn't just talk the talk -- in real life, he continues to practise, and currently specializes in death penalty cases. In fact, he's written a non-fiction book on the subject, Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty (2003).
SUGGESTED FURTHER READING
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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