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By Jacqueline on 10-16-13
Courtroom Drama Takes a Back Seat
I was so looking forward to this novel, as two of my favorite Turow books, "Innocent" and "Presumed Innocent" are so rich in the details and drama of courtroom action. However, this story does not put the spotlight on the judge or attorneys.
Overall this is a complex story of two Greek families over a 25 year period. You need to pay close attention to get the numerous characters straight in your mind at the beginning, or it is easy to become lost. The two main players are Paul and Cass Giannis, identical twin brothers.
I found this a difficult review to do since there is so much going on, but I've condensed it to the following:
The story starts in 1982 at the home of Zeus Kronon during his annual Labor Day party. Among the guests are Lidia Giannis and her twin boys who are 25 at the time. The Giannis family and Kronon family have a shaky history, especially between Lidia and Zeus, but that doesn't keep their children from being friends. Unfortunately that day turns out to change the future of both families lives. Zeus Kronon's daughter, Dita, is found murdered in her bedroom after the guests have gone home, and Cass Giannis is quickly arrested on circumstantial evidence. He agrees to a 25 year sentence if he can serve it in a minimum security prison. No trial is necessary and the deal is agreed to.
Jump ahead to 2008. Paul Giannis is running for mayor. Cass Giannis is about to get out of prison. Dita's brother, Hal, a wealthy businessman, is against it and starts a media campaign to stop his release. This is where the real story starts. Hal asks his head of security, Evon Miller and a former homicide detective, Tim Brodie, to investigate and see if they can turn up any new information from the murder 25 years ago. Hal has never been convinced that Paul wasn't involved in some way, and is using the suggestion of his involvement to stall his campaign for mayor.
Back and forth the story is slowly revealed to us over time, from the Labor Day party and the actions of people on that day, then back to the present and what the investigation is turning up.
I liked the story, and it had enough momentum to keep me listening. The only small complaints I would mention are 1) the narrator is ok, but gets a little monotone, and 2) there is a lot of extraneous material that just goes nowhere. This is mostly related to Evon's girlfriend who keeps popping up throughout, and has no real relevance to the story.
Turow did keep me entertained throughout. There are a ton of suspects- - it is never really clear until almost the very end who murdered Dita and why. Recommended!
19 of 20 people found this review helpful
By Phil Milner on 12-29-13
Worthy followup to his other Kindle County dramas
I enjoyed Identical a lot -- liked the information about twins, about DNA, and Turow's understanding of family and love. After Presumed Innocent and Innocent, I was ready for more courtroom drama, which I enjoy, but Turow takes a different approach here. A ruminative description and contemplation of the dynamic between two families, and an interesting plot that involves a 25 year old murder, and what it does to all the people in the dense world Turow describes. I read Jacqueline's review above with care before beginning, and went back to it a couple of times in the first third of the book, while I was getting the intricate characters and plot fixed in my mind. Also, I liked the performance fine: the reader reads the words with proper inflection, and otherwise stays of out the way. I also like past Turow readers, and was disappointed not to hear the familiar voices from other books.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful