Source: Audiobook Review copy
Publication: 20 September 2022
Narrator: Robert G. Slade
Listening Time: 14hrs 20 mins
Lucia Gomez is a female police chief in a man’s world and she’s walked a fine line to succeed at the top. Now a trio of police officers in Kindle County have accused her of soliciting sex for promotions and she’s in deep.
Rik Dudekis an attorney and old friend of Lucia’s. He’s the only one she can trust, but he’s never had a headline criminal case. This ugly smear campaign is already breaking the internet and will be his biggest challenge yet.
Clarice ‘Pinky’ Granum is a fearless PI who plays by her own rules. Her 4-D imagination is her biggest asset when it comes to digging up dirt for Rik but not all locks are best picked.
It’s cops against cops in this hive of lies. And it will take more than honeyed words from the defence to change the punchline and save the Chief from her own cell.
Suspect stands on its own as a novel, but it also fits into Scott Turow’s Kindle County universe, because its central character, Pinky Granum is the granddaughter of Turow’s recurring Kindle County character, Sandy Stearn.
She’s quite a character, Pinky. Inked, studded, sporting a Mohawk and bisexual, she doesn’t really do committed relationships. She is, though, one hell of an investigator. Which is just as well because the case she’s working on is a real doozy.
Pinky’s working for Lucia Gomez’s attorney, Rik. Lucy stands accused of soliciting sexual favours in exchange for promotions by three of her male officers. It’s a classic #metoo case, only this time the harasser is a woman in a position of power.
Lucia Gomez is an interesting character, too. As Chief of Police she’s had to be tough to make it to the position of Chief in what is still traditionally a man’s world. So she’s done her fair share of drinking with her fellow officers and joining in the rough and tumble of pub chat. But she’s also had to root out corruption in the Chicago PD and so she’s also a bit of a politician who knows how the system works.
The set pieces take place in the courtroom of the Police and Fire Commission where the testimony of the three accusers is heard. By now they are all former police officers working for another former cop turned property developer, Moritz Vojczek, known as The Ritz.
Lucia is convinced that it is the Ritz that is behind these false accusations, because he’s never forgiven her for firing him when she found out he was a corrupt cop dealing drugs on the side.
Scott Turow presents the case with real credibility and the courtroom scenes, which are always a strength with his books, are taut and suspenseful. By making the accused a woman, he demonstrates well that the issue of sexual coercion is one of power rather than gender and this adds to the sense of tension that really comes through in the courtroom scenes.
All the characters are very well drawn. Though this is predominantly a plot driven story, nevertheless, the characters stand out. The Ritz is everything a gangster should be; Lucia has made one compromise too many in her journey to the top; Pinky is not a believer in following the rules and in contrast, Rik is as pure as the driven snow.
Turow focuses on Pinky’s role in this case which helps provide the bullets to fire in Rik’s examination of the three accusers. She’s been reaching out to a former girlfriend and current police officer to find out what the gossip in the P.D. is about these guys.
But Pinky’s also interested in her new neighbour, a buff looking guy who is keeping very odd hours and who comes and goes without seemingly leaving any mark of himself. As she determines to find out what he is up to, Turow gives us a lesson in the capability of today’s technology which is as fascinating as it is unsettling.
Although a bit counter-intuitive to have a man narrating a story that has two principal female characters, I nevertheless really enjoyed Robert G. Slade’s narration which was accomplished and did not get in the way of an absolutely fascinating story. Robert G. Slade narrates all the other Kindle County novels so it makes sense to retain that continuity. His very fluid voice more than rose to this challenge.
Verdict: A real page turner that brims full of tension, great courtroom drama and moments of revelation and not a little danger. Turow explores the moral ambiguity of Lucia’s position really well and in the character of Pinky he has found a unique voice that I’d love to see in action again
Audible The Reading House (CDs)
Scott Turow is the author of many bestselling works of fiction, including The Last Trial, Testimony, Identical, Innocent, Presumed Innocent, and The Burden of Proof, and two nonfiction books, including One L, about his experience as a law student. His books have been translated into more than forty languages, sold more than thirty million copies worldwide, and have been adapted into movies and television projects. He has frequently contributed essays and op-ed pieces to publications such as the New York Times, Washington Post, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and The Atlantic.
Photo c.Kuba Luczkiewicz