Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Identical, by Scott Turow

My mother loved a good murder. She devoured anything by Dorothy Sayers, Sue Grafton, Ruth Rendell, and so many others who wrote about death by unnatural causes, disappearances, and other sorts of mysteries. But Mom especially enjoyed reading about such things in the Chicago newspapers. She had her theory (involving a meat grinder) early on about what became of candy heiress Helen Brach, but she was stumped by the vicious slaying in the Kenilworth mansion of Valerie Percy, one of the identical twin daughters of millionaire Charles Percy, then a Senate candidate. To this day, that murder remains unsolved.
In his latest book, Identical, author Scott Turow borrows some of the basics from the Percy tragedy, but spins them a little differently. There is an heiress, brutally murdered in the mansion of her father, a Greek millionaire named Zeus. She, however, is not an identical twin, but Cass and Paul, the two prime suspects, are. One was her beau, whom she intended to jilt, and the other is a state senator.
In addition to the Percy murder, Turow’s latest novel finds inspiration in the Greek myth of twin brothers Castor and Pollux, born to Leda after she was raped by Zeus. Turow also offers the reader a lot of information about the forensics of fingerprinting and DNA matching, and, in addition, his story includes a lawsuit for defamation of character and a lot of dirty politics. So, yes, there’s a lot going on in Identical, some of it pretty darn interesting, but, alas, some plot twists border on the ridiculous. I think Mom would have figured out who the killer was in the first 30 pages.

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