|Scott Turow has always pushed himself beyond the expectations of readers and critics. In Presumed Innocent (1987), he introduced fictional Kindle County and ushered in the era that spawned such mega-authors as John Grisham, Richard North Patterson, and David Baldacci. In Personal Injuries, Turow continues to innovate on legal fiction, but his achievement this time is not gained through clever plot twists (though there are several) or intense legal action (though there is much of that too). The achievement of mastery this time is via exquisitely drawn, Faulknerian characters--attorney Robbie Feaver, agent Evon Miller, U.S. Attorney Stan Sennett, and Justice Brendan Tuohey--whose lives become the driving mystery at the core of the book.|
The novel begins with Robbie Feaver seeking counsel from the narrator, attorney George Mason. For years, Feaver has been bribing several judges in the Common Law Claims Division to win favorable judgments. Now that U.S. Attorney Stan Sennett has uncovered Feaver's dirty little secret, he wants to use Feaver to get at the man he believes to be at the center of all the legal corruption in the metropolitan area, Brendan Tuohey, Presiding Judge of Common Law Claims and heir apparent to the Chief Justice of Kindle County Superior Court. With Mason as an advisor, Robbie assists Sennett and his team of FBI undercover agents in crafting a massive sting operation that involves an FBI-manufactured lawyer named "James McManis," a cast of fictional clients, and "Evon Miller"--a deep cover agent (and former Olympic athlete)--who poses as Robbie's paralegal and paramour.
With a skill rarely found in genre fiction, Turow composes his narrative with variations on several recurring themes. The novel ripples with paranoia as the FBI enshrouds the legal community of Kindle County in a web of tapped phones, concealed cameras, and wired spies.
At the center of indirection sit Robbie and Evon. The pair dance through an elegant game of erotically-charged hide and seek: Robbie the practiced liar and former actor, and Evon, the agent whose whole life must remain a fiction if she is to survive. At their best, legal thrillers leave readers confronting the core of their values and perceptions of legal and moral rectitude. Personal Injuries is the legal thriller at its very best. --Patrick O'Kelley