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Book Reviews
'Reversible Errors'
By: Scott Turow
(Hardcover / 448 Pages / Farrar Straus & Giroux / ISBN: 0374281602 / $28.00)

Description:Rommy "Squirrel" Gandolph is a Yellow Man, an inmate on death row for a 1991 triple murder in Kindle County. His slow progress toward certain execution is nearing completion when Arthur Raven, a corporate lawyer who is Rommy's reluctant court-appointed representative, receives word that another inmate may have new evidence that will exonerate Gandolph. Arthur's opponent in the case is Muriel Wynn, Kindle County's formidable chief deputy prosecuting attorney, who is considering a run for her boss's job. Muriel and Larry Starczek, the original detective on the case, don't want to see Rommy escape a fate they long ago determined he deserved, for a host of reasons. Further complicating the situation is the fact that Gillian Sullivan, the judge who originally found Rommy guilty, is only recently out of prison herself, having served time for taking bribes.

Verdict:In his best work since "Presumed Innocence", Scott Turow weaves a masterpiece of interpersonal relationships and legal suspense in "Reversible Errors". At his best, Turow's legal prose is much more powerful and thoughtful than the more popular John Grisham, and this is an example of the master at the top of his game. The main story line is familiar enough: a condemned man about to be executed for a decade-old triple murder has one last shot at reprieve. But while the tale may be common, the characters are not: deeply developed, multi-faceted, and flawed, absent both super-heroes and arch-villains. The main characters include Arthur Raven, the socially dysfunctional court-appointed defense attorney, and Gillian Sullivan, the judge who presided over the original trial, now an ex-con and ex-junkie. They are joined by the upwardly mobile prosecuting attorney Muriel Wynn, and her once and future affair-mate, Larry Starczek, the detective who gathered the evidence in the murder case of death-row resident Rommy Gandolph, who awaits imminent execution. As the appeal winds through a series of triumphs and disappointments for both sides, the reader is drawn more deeply into the complex characters and the relationships between them. He adroitly interweaves story lines between 1991 and 2001; the non-linearity adding to the interest and intrigue. The author does not try overly hard to build the mystery, putting instead his efforts behind the convoluted relationships of the main characters. "Reversible Errors" is a classic case of the reward being in the journey, rather than the final destination. Always a master of legal details and courtroom drama, Turow introduces a new dimension to his talents. While not much of a "feel-good" book, "Reversible Errors" is definitely one of the more intelligent reads of 2002.!

Reviewed by Russ Trunk