This page is the original source of this review, though you may also find it on Amazon or other sites.
|Book Reviews Home||Free Audio Books|
Book Review of: Personal Injuries
We recommend Personal Injuries, a surprising novel by Scott Turow
You save about 30% over list price.
Personal Injuries, by Scott Turow
Reviewer: Mark Lamendola
Turow writes as though he's never heard of formula books, one-dimensional characters, ghosts in the machine, or the other slop that characterizes so much of today's fiction.
I like a good plot, and Turow surely delivered on that score by giving this novel several twists that kept the story moving at a fast pace. The various plot nuances were delightful.
I like Tom Clancy novels because the technical detail is excellent--Turow delivers in that department, as well. I made a point of checking his credits at the end of the book, just because he kept getting these things right.
When an author fails to get these things right, you end up with things like The DaVinci Code, which leave any informed reader feeling cheated and lied to. Even many purported non-fiction works, such as Kurzweil's Fantastic Voyage, are filled with disinformation that ruins the book for any reader who has had enough interest in the subject to have read about it already.
When an author takes the approach of a Clancy or Turow and presents a novel that is well-researched, the reader gets a triple bonus when that novel also exhibits tight writing and a gripping plot.
But what most sets this book apart is the complex way the characters interact--turning that triple bonus into a quadruple bonus. We follow Robbie Feaver throughout the story, initially seeing him as an opportunistic lawyer who uses the system to cheat.
We then see him as a coward who rats out on his friends. But as the book progresses, we see those initial impressions are just part of his facade and that deep down his sole motivation is to protect the people he loves. The way he deceives various other characters initially gives you the impression he's a master at deception--until we see other deceptions that fool even him. He's the perfect character for the multi-layered plot. The story seems to be about Feaver--yet when you finish the book, you have to wonder if that was the case at all.
Maybe the story was about another character, a female FBI agent assigned to stick to Feaver like glue and watch his every move. Evon Miller is as complex as Robbie, and we find that she--like Robbie-- is full of secrets that make this book a powerful story. A half-dozen other characters bring their own star power to the story, and each of them provides at least one surprise.
An interesting thing about this book is it brings up several moral and legal issues, without ever preaching to the reader or having the characters "do the right thing." Instead, the characters react to those issues in their own way--thus creating much of the page-turning tension this book provides.
About these reviews
You may be wondering why the reviews here are any different from the hundreds of "reviews" posted online. Notice the quotation marks?
I've been reviewing books for sites like Amazon for many years now, and it dismays me that Amazon found it necessary to post a minimum word count for reviews. It further dismays me that it's only 20 words. If that's all you have to say about a book, why bother?
And why waste everyone else's time with such drivel? As a reader of such reviews, I feel like I am being told that I do not matter. The flippancy of people who write these terse "reviews" is insulting to the authors also, I would suspect.
This sound bite blathering taking the place of any actual communication is increasingly a problem in our mindless, blog-posting Webosphere. Sadly, Google rewards such pointlessness as "content" so we just get more if this inanity.
My reviews, contrary to current (non) standards, actually tell you about the book. I always got an "A" on a book review I did as a kid (that's how I remember it anyhow, and it's my story so I'm sticking to it). A book review contains certain elements and has a logical structure. It informs the reader about the book.
A book review may also tell the reader whether the reviewer liked it, but revealing a reviewer's personal taste is not necessary for an informative book review.
About your reviewer
About reading style
No, I do not "speed read" through these. That said, I do read at a fast rate. But, in contrast to speed reading, I read everything when I read a book for review.
Speed reading is a specialized type of reading that requires skipping text as you go. Using this technique, I've been able to consistently "max out" a speed reading machine at 2080 words per minute with 80% comprehension. This method is great if you are out to show how fast you can read. But I didn't use it in graduate school and I don't use it now. I think it takes the joy out of reading, and that pleasure is a big part of why I read.