Book Reviews

Go To Hopkins & Company Homepage

Go to Executive Times Archives


Go to 2003 Book Review List


Reversible Errors by Scott Turow


Rating: (Highly Recommended)


Click on title or picture to buy from



Paradise Lost and Regained

Scott Turow has been spending a lot of time on death penalty issues in his day job as an attorney. It comes as no surprise that he’s taken that preoccupation and brought it and his fiction to new levels. Turow’s latest novel, Reversible Errors, may be his best book yet. He brings together somewhat seamlessly, his legal acumen, his ability to tell a good story, wise insights into human nature, and enough plot twists to keep demanding readers pleased. One love story wasn’t enough, so he weaves two related stories together with one deepening while the other drifts. Just when the reader thinks Turow will slip into typecasting a character, the character behaves in a way that’s consistent with the exposition of the story, and reveals a dimension that shows just how complicated each of us can be. The parallels to real characters are strong, especially for those observers of the legal, judicial, criminal and police professions in Illinois.

Here’s an excerpt (p.14-15):

"I'll tell you one thing I can't see him as," said Arthur: "your husband."

"Wasn't that something?" Pamela asked, laughing. She was pretty enough to be untouched at some level. Men, Arthur recognized, were often silly around her.

They passed a couple of jokes, and still bantering, Pamela said, "I can't seem to meet anyone decent lately, but this"—she threw a hand in the direction of the highway, far off—"is a pretty long trip to make every Saturday night."

She was at the passenger door. The wind frothed her blondish hair, as she laughed lightly again, and Arthur felt his heart knock. Even at thirty-eight, he still believed that somewhere within him was a shadow Arthur, who was taller, leaner, better-looking, a person with a suave voice and a carefree manner who could have parlayed Pamela's remark about her present dry spell with men into a backhanded invitation to lunch or even a more meaningful social occasion. But brought to that petrifying brink where his fantasies adjoined the actual world, Arthur realized that, as usual, he would not step forward. He feared humiliation, of course, but if he were nonchalant enough she could decline, as she was nearly certain to do, in an equally innocuous fashion. What halted him, instead, was the cold thought that any overture would be, in a word, unfair. Pamela was a subordinate, inevitably anxious about her prospects, and he was a partner. There was no changing the unequal footing or his leverage, no way Arthur Raven could depart from the realm of settled decency where he felt his only comfort with himself. And yet even as he accepted his reasoning, he knew that with women some obstacle of one kind or another always emerged, leaving him confined with the pangs of fruitless longing.

He used the gizmo in his pocket to unlatch Pamela's door. While she sank into the sedan, he stood in the bitter dust that had been raised in the parking lot. The death of his hopes, no matter how implausible, was always wrenching. But the prairie wind gusted again, this time clearing the air and carrying the smell of freshly turned earth from the fields outside town, an aroma of spring. Love—the sweet amazing possibility of it— struck in his chest like a note of perfect music. Love! He was somehow exhilarated by the chance he had lost.

Love! And at that moment he wondered for the first time about Rommy Gandolph. What if he was innocent? That too was an inspiration almost as sweet as love. What if Rommy was innocentl

And then he realized again that Rommy wasn't. The weight of Arthur's life fell over him, and the few categories that described him came back to mind. He was a partner. And without love. His father was dead. And Susan was still here. He considered the list, felt again that it added up to far less than he had long hoped for, or, even, was entitled to, then opened the car door to head back to it all.

Turow’s the best of the fiction-writing attorneys publishing today, and Reversible Errors is his best book since Presumed Innocent. Almost every character in the novel changed as a result of the murders that took place at the Paradise Restaurant. For each of them, something of paradise is lost and regained on the pages of Reversible Errors. Enjoy every page of this highly recommended novel as you find out what was lost and what was regained for each of them.

Steve Hopkins, December 23, 2002


ã 2003 Hopkins and Company, LLC


The recommendation rating for this book appeared in the January 2003 issue of Executive Times


For Reprint Permission, Contact:

Hopkins & Company, LLC • 723 North Kenilworth Avenue • Oak Park, IL 60302
Phone: 708-466-4650 • Fax: 708-386-8687