Summary and book reviews of Personal Injuries by Scott Turow

Personal Injuries

By Scott Turow

Personal Injuries
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  • Hardcover: Sep 1999,
    384 pages.
    Paperback: Dec 2000,
    384 pages.

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Book Summary

Robbie Feaver (pronounced "favor") is a successful personal injury lawyer with a burgeoning practice, a way with the ladies, and a beautiful wife (whom he loves) dying of an irreversible illness. He also has a secret bank account where he occasionally deposits funds that make their way into the pockets of the judges who decide Robbie's cases. Robbie is apprehended, and, in exchange for leniency, agrees to "wear a wire" as he continues to try to fix decisions. The FBI agent assigned to supervise him goes by the alias of Evon Miller. She is lonely, uncomfortable in her skin, and impervious to Robbie's charms. And she carries secrets of her own.

As the law tightens its net, Robbie's and Evon's stories converge thrillingly. Scott Turow shows us new sides of Kindle County, the world of greed and human failing he has made immortal in his previous novels, Presumed Innocent, The Burden of Proof, Pleading Guilty, and The Laws of Our Fathers. He also shows us enduring love and unexpected heroism. Personal Injuries is Turow's most reverberant, most moving novel--a powerful drama of individuals struggling against all odds to escape their characters.

Excerpt
Personal Injuries

He knew that it was wrong, and that he was going to get caught. He said he knew this day was coming.

He knew they had been stupid, he told me--worse, greedy. He said he knew he should have stopped. But somehow, each time he thought they'd quit, he'd ask himself how once more could make it any worse. Now he knew he was in trouble.

I recognized the tune. Over twenty-some years, the folks sitting in that leather club chair in front of my desk have found only a few old standards in the jukebox. I Didn't Do It. The Other One Did It. Why Are They Picking on Me. His selection, I'm Sorry, made the easiest listening. But they all wanted to hear the same song from me: Maybe I Can Get You Out of This. I said it usually, although I knew it would often prove untrue. But it's a complicated business being somebody's only hope.

This is a lawyer's story, the kind attorneys like to hear and tell. About a case. About a client. His name was Robert Feaver. Everyone ...

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Reviews

Media Reviews
Publishers Weekly

There are some remarkable narrative strategies ... but readers will not be concerned with technical details, only with the rare revelation of a paradoxical personality so compelling he makes the very adroit plot almost superfluous.

Kirkus Reviews

A revelation -- a subtle, densely textured legal thriller stuffed with every kind of surprise except the ones you expect. Turow is well on his way to making Kindle County the Yoknapatawpha of American law.

Chicago Tribune

In his beautifully realized new novel, Personal Injuries, Scott Turow not only knows what his readers want, he delivers just about perfectly ... Turow is the closest we have to a Balzac of the fin de siecle professional class. He knows the weight of institutions and is interested in what happens when the good set out to reckon with the bad and the ugly. His characters are very much of this moment ... rogues in the know, dragged by greed and self-promotion into moral swamps, matched up against moralists who also have their price. His sense of the human comedy is laced with tragedy. Not a pretty picture, but a true one.

Wall Street Journal

A textured examination of human nature and an entertaining tale of American justice.

Time

Personal Injuries contains some surprises that are remarkable even by Turow's inventive standards... Turow spares neither his characters nor readers maximum suspense.

Entertainment Weekly

With lawyerly shrewdness and planning, his books arrive on a regular three-year schedule. The extra care taken shows, too, in every paragraph, as well as in the perfectly staged plot twists. Legal fiction has turned depressingly formulaic and melodramatic lately, but Scott Turow's just gets richer and smarter. Funnier, too. Personal Injuries is the best work of his career.

Washington Post

Of all the lawyers-storytellers who have clambered onto the bestseller lists in recent years, Scott Turow is the champ.

Talk

Scott Turow is to courtroom literature what Harrison Ford is to action-adventures the class of the field. Thirteen years and four novels after he left the U.S. Attorney's office, he has written a novel based on his work as an Assistant U.S. Attorney with Operation Greylord, a six-year federal undercover operation that plumbed Chicago's courts for corrupt judges, lawyers, and cops. He has re-created the entire Greylord landscape in Personal Injuries and produced perhaps his best book.

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