Last Trial
by Turow, Scott

A brilliant octogenarian defense lawyer on the brink of retirement seeks to prove the innocence of a long-time friend, a former Nobel Prize winner who has been charged with murder. By the best-selling author of Presumed Innocent. 400,000 first printing. Tour.

Scott Turow is the author of many bestselling works of fiction, including 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.

*Starred Review* The time has come for a legendary attorney, 85-year-old Sandy Stern, to try his final case. This time he's defending his longtime friend, Nobel scientist Kiril Pafko, against charges of fraud, insider trading, and murder. Pafko is accused of altering data to conceal a string of deadly allergic reactions in the clinical trial of his groundbreaking cancer medication, and when he learned that a journalist planned to reveal the deception, he sold off shares of his company's stock. Through witness depositions, Sandy learns that the friend he's known for years, and even trusted with his own cancer treatment, has been hiding a dark side: Pafko's workplace affairs have created bitter strife, and a cleverly concealed pattern of pirating other scientists' work forces Sandy to question his faith in Kiril's integrity. In the courtroom, a few early missteps place Sandy in self-described "old lawyer probation," exposing in the heretofore indestructible attorney a new and compelling vulnerability. Luckily, his team is up to the challenge, with his daughter Marta's technical acumen and granddaughter Pinky's investigative instincts. Turow has established the gold standard for legal thrillers for decades, and he delivers another bar-raising example of his talent here, with his signature absorbing legal details, cerebral suspense, and fascinatingly flawed characters all on full view.HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Turow has been a legal-thriller master since Presumed Innocent in 1987, and his latest finds him in top form. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Trying his final case at 85, celebrated criminal defense lawyer Sandy Stern defends a Nobel-winning doctor and longtime friend whose cancer wonder drug saved Stern's life but subsequently led to the deaths of others. Federal prosecutors are charging the eminent doctor, Kiril Pafko, with murder, fraud, and insider trading. An Argentine émigré like Stern, Pafko is no angel. His counselor is certain he sold stock in the company that produced the drug, g-Livia, before users' deaths were reported. The 78-year-old Nobelist is a serial adulterer whose former and current lovers have strong ties to the case. Working for one final time alongside his daughter and proficient legal partner, Marta, who has announced she will close the firm and retire along with her father following the case, Stern must deal not only with "senior moments" before Chief Judge Sonya "Sonny" Klonsky, but also his physical frailty. While taking a deep dive into the ups and downs of a complicated big-time trial, Turow (Testimony, 2017, etc.) crafts a love letter to his profession through his elegiac appreciation of Stern, who has appeared in all his Kindle County novels. The grandly mannered attorney (his favorite response is "Just so") has dedicated himself to the law at great personal cost. But had he not spent so much of his life inside courtrooms, "He never would have known himself." With its bland prosecutors, frequent focus on technical details like "double-blind clinical trials," and lack of real surprises, the novel likely will disappoint some fans of legal thrillers. But this smoothly efficient book gains timely depth through its discussion of thorny moral issues raised by a drug that can extend a cancer sufferer's life expectancy at the risk of suddenly ending it. A strongly felt, if not terribly gripping, sendoff for a Turow favorite nearly 35 years after his appearance in Presumed Innocent. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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