Monday, May 26, 2014

Identical, by Scott Turow

Paul and Cass Gianis are identical twins, but their lives diverged as young men, when Cass pled guilty to killing his girlfriend, the daughter of a prominent Greek American business man. When the novel opens, Paul is running for mayor of Turow's fictional Midwestern city and Cass is just getting out of prison after serving 25 years. The brother of the murdered girl is enraged that Cass is now free and obsessed with the idea that Paul was somehow involved in the murder. He starts a campaign to discredit the candidate, setting his investigators--Evon Miller and Tim Brodie--to work trying to answer lingering questions about what really happened on the night his sister died. Meanwhile Paul files a defamation suit.

Attorney Turow has a gift for describing court procedures in a way that is engaging and informative. In Identical, little time is spent on the actual court case. Most of the focus is on Evon and Tim's investigation, which includes considerable discussion of the genetic similarities and differences between identical twins. While the two investigators  are the most interesting and likable characters, they nonetheless engage in ethically questionable activities for their employer. Turow throws in his usual plot twists, some of which actually surprise, others (mostly those involving the twins) that are predictable.  A subplot involving the stalking of Evon by a former lover seems to serve little purpose.

All of these flaws kept Identical from being as engaging as some of Turow's earlier works, but it did succeed in distracting me from the home improvement project I am supposed to be working on.

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