Much-practiced legal proceduralist Turow (Innocent, 2010, etc.) steps onto Joseph Campbell turf in his latest mystery.
Turf is everything in the world Zeus Kronon—a charged name, that—has carved out for himself in Kindle County, turf that, of course, figures in Turow’s oeuvre as Yoknapatawpha County figures in Faulkner’s. Rolling in drachmas, he has just one problem: a wild maenad of a daughter, full name Aphrodite (“There have not been many occasions he has seen Dita when she is not smashed”), who has eyes not just for one of a pair of twin brothers, Paul and Cass Gianis, but both. That spells trouble, as twins in mythology always do. Fast-forward a few decades. Cass has been doing time for her murder, while Paul, “followed by two scrubbed young underlings,” re-enters the scene as a legal whiz and rising politico. Enter the Sapphic former FBI agent Evon Miller, who, working for real estate magnate Hal (that is, Herakles) Kronon—and who minds mixing Shakespeare with Aeschylus?—is determined to get to the bottom of whether Cass or Paul did poor Dita in so brutally. It would spoil the story to do more here than whisper the name Medea in what she eventually turns up. Turow has obvious fun with his mythological conceit, giving, for instance, a local GOP power the sonorous, if unlikely, name Perfectus Elder; and if sometimes the joke wears a little thin, the process of discovery takes nice and sometimes unexpected twists. Amid the supermodernity of DNA tests, the austerity of case law and the tangles of contemporary politics (Hal, horrors, even threatening to vote for Obama), Turow never loses sight of the ancient underpinnings of his story, with a conclusion that places Hal, Zeus, Hermione and Aphrodite in the vicinity of Olympus, their true neighborhood.
Classic (in more senses than one) Turow.