<B>Turow's latest legal winner</B>When a restaurant owner and two of his customers are shot to death, a semi-retarded thief named Rommy Gandolph confesses to the crime and is sentenced to death. After 10 years on death row, his execution date is near. While this may sound like the end of the story, it's actually the beginning of Scott Turow's gripping new legal thriller, <B>Reversible Errors</B>.
In his sixth novel, Turow introduces lawyer Arthur Raven, a former prosecutor who is now a partner in a successful firm that handles civil litigation cases. Raven is drafted by the federal appellate court to ensure there are no remaining unexplored legal arguments in Rommy's case. Raven's dilemma is that 10 years earlier Rommy confessed to the crimes, but now, just 33 days from execution, Rommy claims he is innocent. Furthermore, another prisoner provides information that supports Rommy's innocence. Who's telling the truth? The burden rests on Raven's shoulders as he attempts to unravel this decade-old case.
Arthur Raven, single, lonely, ungainly and prematurely aging, is an unlikely but compelling champion. A man of unsatisfied personal dreams, Raven is nevertheless a dependable, diligent and honest lawyer. In the courtroom he is intense and methodical, known in legal circles as more of a plow horse than a racehorse. Raven forms an unlikely alliance with Gillian Sullivan, an intelligent but disgraced judge recently released from prison.
Opposing Raven is an aggressive female prosecutor with political ambitions and the dogged police detective who originally took Rommy's confession. The sense of desperation felt by the accused also extends to both legal camps; neither side can afford to lose this case.
The judicial process itself becomes the ultimate "theater," with elements of emotion, intensity, strategy and gamesmanship, and Turow expertly allows the reader to savor the behind-the-scenes struggles in the search for justice. <I>C.
L. Ross reads, writes and reviews in Pismo Beach, California.</I>