A first novel that brought a new player to the legal thriller category of book publishing: Presumed Innocent by Scott Turow.
Turow is a lawyer and worked in the legal system, based in Chicago and in the district attorney’s office for numerous years before he turned his hand to writing a crime thriller.
Rozat ‘Rusty’ Sabich is a prosecutor asked to investigate the death of a former colleague, lawyer Carolyn Polhemus, both prominent within the legal system of the Midwest.
Written in first person, Sabich not only discovers that Polhemus has been murdered, but has to reveal his own previous relationship with the victim as an ex-lover, which turns the spotlight on himself.
The ongoing investigation then makes it seem like Sabich could have been the perpetrator and when all eyes are fixated on making him the person most likely to have killed Polhemus, he continues to investigate to not only prove his innocence but find out who is guilty.
Sabich goes on trial and during the examinations realizes who the killer really is – with a few twists and turns to make the reader wonder if he is guilty or is he not guilty?
Published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux, the first novel/thriller was treated more than another addition to the pulp fiction category thanks to the strong storyline. Thanks to the success of fellow lawyer/writer John Grisham, both publishers and the public were seeking legal thrillers for their bookshelves.
Before the book was published in August 1987, the film rights were optioned by director Sydney Pollack for US $1 million.
The book was praised by critics for it unique twists and turns, and was a mainstay of the New York Times Bestseller List in Fall 1987, hitting number one for several consecutive weeks.
Three years later, the novel was transformed to the big screen with Harrison Ford playing the lead character.