2007: 53.  The Laws of Our Fathers

"Dawn. The air is brackish, although this place is miles from the water.  The four high-rise towers hulk amid a hardened landscape of brick, of tar and pavement broken by weeds, of crushed Coke cups and candy wrappers, of fly-about newspaper pages.”

The Laws of Our Fathers, Scott Turow

I had never read any of Turow’s fiction before, only One L (conclusion - he was a whiny baby) and his book about the death penalty (conclusion - an excellent book).  This book was in the “library” at a work, a shelf in the break room where people leave all sorts of books.  I started reading it in fits and starts while my lunch microwaved (i.e. in four minute increments) and was sufficiently hooked to take it back to my desk and finish it up.

It was pretty good - the parts that were excellent were the legal sections.  Turow knows his courtroom stuff and captures the mix of interesting and tedious that makes up trial work perfectly.  I really enjoyed reading a courtroom drama that seemed legally realistic.  I also didn’t mind the contemporary relationship stuff, and the solution to the central mystery was pretty good too.  What I didn’t like was the whole 1960’s subplot.  The book alternates between a murder trial the current day (well, probably the mid-1990’s) and the 1960’s, when many of the protagonists in the trial (lawyers, judge, witness, victim, suspect) knew each other in the heady California radical scene.  My problem was that the 1960’s sections were super boring - you needed to know what happened so that you could keep on top of the current day plot, but reading about it as such length was a slog.  So, I skimmed those sections (look, it isn’t Tolstoy, its the book I read when I was eating my lunch).  So, I would consider reading more Turow, but would want one that stays in the present.


Recommended for: Baby boomers, who would find the 1960’s stuff interesting, not self-indulgent; people who like well written courtroom dramas, and are willing to skim.


Date/Place Completed:  4/18/07, D.C.

Categories: Fiction

© Carrie Dunsmore 2017