Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Completed: Presumed Innocent

Dear Jenny,

Completing this book was something of a personal accomplishment because it's been sitting on my TBR pile since 1996. That means this book has lived with me in 9 different homes and I have moved it across the country twice.

Oddly, in a heroic fit of "Throw it away!" I donated it to my local library immediately upon finishing and now I'm bummed I didn't take a photo for this post. Heh. Oh, well. The thumbnail photo shows what it looked like, basically (found image online, complete with messed-up nearly 30 year old paperback cover).

That cover image is actually pretty good -- the partial fingerprint is a major plot-point. Makes me think about how many book covers have nothing to do with the book at all.

What seemed like a pretty straight-forward "legal thriller" at the beginning got really interesting when I started to wonder "Did he kill her? Or didn't he?" At first, it seems like he was framed, but as the evidence adds up, I wondered about his reliability. I know we frequently post spoilers around here, but I feel guilty posting the end of this book, so I'll just say: I didn't see it coming.

I guess this was a pretty popular movie, so I probably should have known the entire plot all along, but I'm not really into thrillers...  I've only read a few and have maybe seen a handful of movies. I think, in some ways, that makes them more "exciting" to me --  a practiced thriller-reader probably could have predicted everything from the start.

I just googled this book (because I do that when I am trying to both remember the book and find intelligent things to say about it...) and I discovered this essay that calls it ground breaking -- it's interesting to read about the influence that it had on the genre (according to this author, at least). He mentions Gone Girl, (one of the few thrillers I have read) which I thought of several times as I had my "Did he or didn't he?!" moments throughout.

Overall, I enjoyed it. I only had a couple of minor problems with the writing. One was keeping track of character names -- it reminded me of a Russian novel with all of the darned nicknames, and all of the characters are referred to interchangably by first name, last name, and nickname (Main character: Rozat “Rusty” Sabich. His buddy: Dan “Lip” Lipramzer. His lawyer: Alejandro “Sandy” Stern. The opposition: Nico Della “Delay” Guardia.  Just to name a few.)

Also, it's set in fictional "Kindle County," which seems to be a thinly veiled Chicago (although it's frequently referred to as "Tri Cities") and that was disconcerting at times. I kept thinking, "Where are we now?" It's fine to make up a whole town, but because of the similarities to a real place that I am somewhat familiar with, I kept looking for references to actual details which would then be missing/changed.

Other than that, it was a fun read -- it kept me guessing and I didn't expect the ending, so that was good.  Have you read it or seen the movie?


PS -- I called this one "Book 4" in my Status post, so I'm all out of order, but hey -- it's done! I have finished Detroit City is the Place to Be and am feeling somewhat stymied by all that I want to say about. Just need to Get! It! Done!


  1. Kelly,

    I think that I definitely saw this movie, but I don't remember reading the book. Of course, 20 years ago, I sucked down books like candy, so who knows! I only vaguely remember the movie, but I think that I often get it mixed up with the movie No Way Out with Kevin Costner, another movie with a twisty-turny ending.

    I do think the author is from Chicago, and I think it is a thinly veiled reference to Cook County.

    Have you seen the movie? You should watch it! I bet it would super fun to compare the two. Now, I sort of want to watch it. If it wasn't for the fact that I was getting in so late on Thursday, we could have a viewing party!

    Congratulations on finishing such a long-lived book from the TBR pile! That is quite an accomplishment. However, I also feel bad because I *always* pull the image from Google Images rather than taking pictures of the actual book. I try to get the same image of the version I read, unless I really like another one better.


  2. PS. Since you wouldn't spoil me, I'm about to go to Wikipedia and read the ending. I also watched the trailer on Youtube, which is great because I forget how fucking handsome young Harrison Ford really was, but also because I forget how much casual nudity there was in adult movies in the 80s. Right in the trailer, there's a shot of Harrison Ford making out with the murder victim, and there's so much more skin showing. I feel like nowadays, that never happens. Maybe I'm just not watching as many movies, but I feel like superstar actresses just don't get naked onscreen anymore. Good for them, I guess! But you should watch it and see if you have the same reaction: http://youtu.be/FnNlN-TWAmQ

  3. Maybe you can buy the sequel that came out a few years ago, Innocent, and read it in 10 years! Hahah.

  4. Yes, the author is from Chicago. I think some of the things that he throws in to make it seem like "This is NOT Chicago!" are what makes it awkward (like the "tri cities" thing...) according to Wikipedia, some of the references sound like Minneapolis, too. So that's what's weird. Just make it Chicago and be done with it.

    There have been nine books in this "Kindle County" series (distracting name, as I keep thinking of the Kindle device when I read it.) Yeah. I could buy them all, hold onto them each for nearly 20 years and read them then. Heh. Or not, cause I'm not all that interested in this guy. Although I do wonder how things go with his wife after this book ends (*** Spoiler alert: His wife did it and only he knows. ***)

    As for the nudity in the trailer, I think that part of that is because she is supposed to be some sort of hyper-sexual character. Like irresistible drive-men-crazy sex goddess -- the book *really* drives that home. So I can see where they would play that up in the movie. However... yowza that there is so much nudity in a *preview* -- yeah. That seems crazy. Also, women in movies weren't so f'ing BONY back then, so the nudity seems way sexier -- she's actually got *curves*. Meanwhile, I've been watching Orange is the New Black so... boobs, boobs, boobs! Guess it depends on the show.