Picks and Pans Review: The Laws of Our Fathers
What brought June Eddgar, a middle-aged white woman, to the inner-city slum in which she was gunned down? Why has her son Nile, probation officer for a black gang leader, been charged with conspiracy in the crime? The startling answers to these key questions provide the framework for Turow's much-anticipated new courtroom thriller.
Sonia (Sonny) Klonsky, an assistant U.S. attorney in The Burden of Proof, is now the judge who will preside at Nile's trial. She alone will hear evidence and render a verdict, a task made more difficult because the Eddgar family, as well as others who are involved—defense lawyer Hobie Tuttle and columnist Seth Weissman, a former and now would-be lover of Sonny's—were students allied with her in the anti-Vietnam War crusades.
Over its 500-plus pages, Laws is admirable in its ambition and emotional depth. Turow fans will find the courtroom theatrics engrossing as expected. But the plotting is dauntingly complex, shifting back and forth in time. Those addicted to easy meat-and-potatoes thrillers may bog down midway. More patient readers, holding out until the resolution of June Eddgar's death, should feel amply rewarded. (Farrar Straus Giroux, $26.95)