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on 2 November 2015
Thurow's great achievement is that he breathes life into all his characters (losers as well as winners) and makes us care about the outcome for the majority of them as people, as well as the denouement of the plot.
Whilst the story is a little contrived, the "who dunn'it", legal manouevrings, and "will the hero win" elements were all sufficiently compelling to make this a very enjoyable read.
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on 24 December 2013
Like his other novels the plot is interesting but the story is rather rambling with a lot of characters .
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on 16 September 2015
good thanks
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on 10 October 2003
I found Turow's first novel, Presumed Innocent, one of the most gripping crime novels of the last twenty years. Since then, there has been a steady decline, but I started Reversible Errors hoping that there might have been a return to his original form. Unfortunately, my hopes were disappointed. This story of the final legal battles to prevent the execution of a mentally subnormal petty criminal for a triple murder contains plenty of shocks and surprises, and Turow's coarse one-liners are as amusing as ever. But his four central characters fail to engage the reader, their philosophising about the human condition is banal and tedious and, at 550 pages, the book often feels interminable. Good story that would have been better at 300 pages.
7 people found this helpful
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on 2 June 2004
Turow has got back to his previous high standards (although not the peak of Presumed Innocent) – does not stink of being massed produced churn another out vis-a-vis Grisham (although I still read JG!). The characters are complex and crafted with style. The read moves along a good pace something that has been missing in recent time (Pleading Guilty). The ending is a little too obvious and stale but certainly worth the price.
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VINE VOICEon 28 May 2010
I try to avoid consulting reviews before I read a book, preferring to come to it with an uninfluenced mind. In the case of Reversible Errors I struggled to page 150 before abandoning my principles, whereupon I discovered a number of other readers who had suffered similarly.

Scott Turow made his reputation, and first seduced me, as a skilled purveyor of courtroom dramas. Sadly, it now looks as though success has gone to his head, tempting him to essay The Great American Novel. Reversible Errors begins with a suggestion that a murder conviction may not have been valid. Presumably, the novel ends in the court room, but far from being the substance of the story the pursuit of innocence becomes merely an excuse to investigate the problems and neuroses (and there are many) of the conflicting characters (and there are many). From chapter to chapter, the focus changes so that the reader, confronted say with 'Muriel', has to turn back several chapters to reconnect with that strand. The technique stalls the narrative flow. So, too, does the psychological interpretation of words spoken or thought within the chapters.

Reversible Errors is certainly a page turner, but the turning is back. Turow's reputation suffers in parallel.
2 people found this helpful
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on 24 December 2010
Hell's teeth, this is boring! More than 550 pages long, with a plot that could be written on the back of a matchbox, and peopled with deeply flawed and repellent characters, all of whom you'd cross the street to avoid and whom you won't give a damn about. And the courtroom scenes are few and far between, and as riveting as a district council budget meeting.

The twists and turns of the drama, which involve endless re-tellings of the same incidents, are staggeringly uninteresting, and each time a new facet of the crime is revealed, your reaction is merely to shrug and say 'so what?' There are no big fireworks in the final pages, and the whole thing just peters out like a damp squib.

The sort of book which gives blockbuster airport novels a bad name, and makes me ask myself just why do I read junk like this, when I could be re-reading the great American classics by Scott Fitzgerald, Ford Madox Ford or Richard Yates, or even the rattling good yarns of George Pelecanos or Elmore Leonard.
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VINE VOICEon 15 January 2004
I thought it was strange that at the end of "Reversible Error" I found myself enjoying the romance in Scott Turow's latest novel, although I suspect that has something to do with the desire for there to be a happy ending of some sort for the hero in such a tale. The story begins with the commonplace of the last minute appeal of a death row inmate. Rommy "Squirrel" Gandolph was convicted of a trio of brutal murders in 1991 and his final appeal has been tossed in the lap of Arthur Raven, a competent but uninspiring lawyer drafted by the federal appellate court, and his quixotic associate, Pamela Towns. Raven is fully prepared to go through the motions, based on his commitment to the process more than his belief in the client, until he receives a letter from another inmate promising vital information having to do with the innocence of Squirrel.
Actually this story reminds me of a really good debate (as in high school/college forensics), where two sides hammer away at each other and every time somebody finishes speaking you are convinced that their side should win the day. The way in which Turow builds the evidence is quite compelling, especially as it brings us closer and closer to the truth. Early on it becomes clear that there is something going on here that neither side understands, and while the ultimate revelation is certainly not on a par with what Turow unveiled at the end of "Presumed Innocent," the way the author was able to place so many layers around that truth is pretty good.
Readers will find many of Turow's Kindle County cast of characters popping up throughout the novel, but they are all minor figures in the tale. Arthur Raven is finally having his moment in the sun and he offers the sort of stolid character whose nobility is only recognized under such rare circumstances. This is a good man trying to do the right thing, and might finally be recognized by his peers for the qualities he has always exhibited. On the other side of the fight is prosecutor Muriel Wynn and detective Larry Starczek; she has ambitions for political office and he wants to rekindle their relationship from way back when. Again, there is the opportunity for the characters to revert to traditional stereotypes, but both exhibit openmindedness even as they reentrench their position. Also involved is Gillian Sullivan, the judge who convicted and sentenced Rommy at the end of the original trial, after which she was ended up in prison after a bribery conviction. She becomes perhaps the most interesting character of all in this little legal quagmire.
As with all of Turow's novels there is an attention to legal detail that I admire and a way of constructing the maze of facts and evidence that I appreciate. In "Reversible Error" I especially liked the way the character of Arthur Raven is caught up with the case and the events as the readers. It is not, therefore, all that strange that at the end we want Rommy saved from death row not because of a sense of justice but rather because we want Arthur to come out ahead at the end of the nightmare.
3 people found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 21 June 2004
Reversible Errors has a grand sweep, much like the great Russian novels of the 19th Century such as Crime and Punishment. The book is filled with passion, conflicts, and hopes . . . while grimness grows as the days until a scheduled execution dwindle.
I found Reversible Errors to be the most eloquent anti-death penalty book I have read. It's even more moving than the evidence that many people on Death Row were innocent when DNA tests were first applied to the evidence. Our justice system is supposed to set free 20 guilty people rather than convict one innocent one. In death penalty cases, we probably aren't doing so well. Innocent people have been executed in many cases. Once that happens, there's little good we can do about it. As we judge, so shall we be judged.
The criminal justice system isn't as neat and objective as television, movies and novels usually make it out to be. But naturally, most people who write about the system do so as nonparticipants. Mr. Turow writes from the vantage point of being both a top-flight lawyer, but also someone who works on death penalty appeals. It's clear that he writes from first-hand experience as to the poor defense work in many of these cases.
In Reversible Errors, Arthur Raven, an earnest corporate attorney, is appointed by the court to handle a death penalty appeal. Like most, he views this assignment as undesirable and likely to end in frustration. His client has been convicted based on his own confession to a gruesome triple murder. Arthur's a man who hasn't found love, and assumes that he never will. His commitment to the law does show his love of fulfilling his sense of duty.
The brilliantly plotted story shows how "neat" pictures of "who did what to whom" usually aren't so neat in reality.
If you don't like your stories realistic and graphic, you may not enjoy this book.
After you finish this book, think about times when you've judged a situation incorrectly . . . and lived to regret what you've said and done. How could you have handled the situations better? How can you reverse the error now?
3 people found this helpful
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VINE VOICEon 11 June 2004
Reversible Errors has a grand sweep, much like the great Russian novels of the 19th Century such as Crime and Punishment. The book is filled with passion, conflicts, and hopes . . . while grimness grows as the days until an execution dwindle. I found Reversible Errors to be the most eloquent anti-death penalty book I have read. It's even more moving than the evidence that many people on Death Row were innocent when DNA tests were first applied to the evidence. Our justice system is supposed to set free 20 guilty people rather than convict one innocent one. In death penalty cases, we probably aren't doing so well. Innocent people have been executed in many cases. Once that happens, there's little good we can do about it. As we judge, so shall we be judged.
The criminal justice system isn't as neat and objective as television, movies and novels usually make it out to be. But naturally, most people who write about the system do so as nonparticipants. Mr. Turow writes from the vantage point of being both a top-flight lawyer, but also someone who works on death penalty appeals. It's clear that he writes from first-hand experience as to the poor defense work in many of these cases. I once helped defend a client who was accused of attempted murder. I came away from that experience feeling much like this book made me feel.
In Reversible Errors, Arthur Raven, an earnest corporate attorney, is appointed by the court to handle a death penalty appeal. Like most, he views this assignment as undesirable and likely to end in frustration. His client has been convicted based on his own confession to a gruesome triple murder. Arthur's a man who hasn't found love, and assumes that he never will. His commitment to the law does show his love of fulfilling his sense of duty. The central irony of this story is that he will have to choose between that love of duty and his chance for happiness with convicted felon, the former judge in the case, Gillian Sullivan. What would you choose in that situation?
The brilliantly plotted story shows how "neat" pictures of "who did what to whom" usually aren't so neat in reality. Arthur's hopes begin to rise, however, when a witness comes forward to exonerate his client, Rommy "Squirrel" Gandolph, a penny-ante fence whose intelligence and education make it hard for him to help with his own defense. The prosecutor, Muriel Wynn, has her own complex agenda that keeps her from making it easy for Arthur, though. In part, she's blinded by affection for Larry Starczek whose commitment to her leaves all defendants in jeopardy. They're an unattractive pair to read about, but undoing the harm they have created makes for riveting reading. It's not the usual "all prosecutors and cops" are bad story. Instead, the story shows that judges, prosecutors, cops and defense attorneys are flawed, vulnerable people like us all who can be easily drawn away from the messy reality of the truth . . . like why the defendant ended up with soiled pants.
If you don't like your stories realistic and graphic, you may not enjoy this book. Although the central theme is about our endless search for love and acceptance, Reversible Errors is certainly no classic love story. In fact, the romantic aspects are the least well written parts of the book.
After you finish this book, think about times when you've judged a situation incorrectly . . . and lived to regret what you've said and done. How could you have handled the situations better? How can you reverse the error now?
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