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Instead of cranking out clones of Presumed Innocent, Turow has preferred to take chances--first with The Burden of Proof, which dispensed with his whodunit plot, and now, even more radically, with a foulmouthed, alcoholic lawyer's account of his search for one of his missing partners--and the $5.6 million that vanished with him. If it weren't for the money--redirected from mega-client TransNational Air's accident settlement escrow to a nonexistent firm called Litiplex--nobody at Gage & Griswell would likely notice that their erratic star litigator Bert Kamin hadn't been in lately. As it is, the Management Oversight Committee--ageless Martin Gold, dried-up Wash Thale, and contrary Carl Pagnucci--is so fearful of scaring off TransNational that they press their fading ex-cop partner Mack McCormack, and not the police, into looking for Bert. Mack soon ties Bert in to a false credit card, a secret affair, a scheme to shave points off college basketball games, and a rapidly cooling corpse. As he doubles back to Gage & Griswell to follow Bert's trail, Mack runs afoul of Det. Gino (Pigeyes) Dimonte, the crooked cop his testimony once brought down, and has to enlist the unlikely help of ancient, deeply dishonest attorney Toots Nuccio to stay one jump ahead of his colleagues. Why? Because once Bert and the money have surfaced, separately, the most original phase of Turow's plot has just begun, as Mack struggles to figure out what to do with the cash, his increasingly divided loyalties, and the question of guilt while wandering among a knot of free-lance legal conspirators who change their allegiances more often than their underwear. In switching from Rusty Sabich and Sandy Stern to hard-bitten Mack Malloy, Turow's entering a much more crowded field, and neither Mack nor the byzantine plot he stumbles on is clearly superior to the competition from Grif Stockley, John T. Lescroart, or Clifford Irving. But his legions of fans surely won't miss the chance to see Turow as they've never seen him before.
Pub Date: June 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-374-23457-4
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1st, 1993


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