Scott Turow


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Please welcome Scott Turow as interviewed for New Mystery Reader by
Narayan Radhakrishnan


I had the wonderful opportunity- privilege and honour to conduct this e-interview with Scott Turow- the greatest legal thriller author ever or “the bard of the litigious age”.  Being an avid fan of his works and proud owner of all Turow works- it was with great happiness (and a little trepidation) that I availed this opportunity of talking with this great author.


NMR: Thank you Mr. Turow for sparing your time for this interview.

NMR:  My first question- LIMITATIONS is a hardcore legal thriller that addresses a key legal issue. Where do you personally stand on the concept of the law of limitations…..especially in criminal cases? Do you believe that the law needs to be changed?

ST:   I personally favor the law of limitations for the reasons that the novel argues—because people do in fact change and very often the society changes with them.  I believe it would be wrong for the law to inflict punishment on George Mason today for his acts 40 years ago, even though a legal argument could be conjured that his actions constituted a grievous felony.  Forty years of an exemplary life is enough to relieve the law of the obligation to punish, especially with an uncomplaining victim.  From that extreme, of course, it is hard to work one’s way backward to say how long is too long.  I am a little uncomfortable with the three year limitations period followed in Illinois.  But I do think that this is an issue which the law will need to address more frankly bc of the advances in scientific evidence, which mean that some crimes can be established with certainty many years after the event.


NMR:  How was the experience writing this ‘small book’- and that too within one year of the publication of ORDINARY HEROES? Can we expect regular Turow books of this kind- or is this an exception.

ST:  Limitations was written on commission by the New York Times, which serialized a shorter version over sixteen weeks, beginning in late April 2006. I wrote with enthusiasm, but I admit that I feel a little imaginatively depleted after turning out two books in what is for me such a relatively short period of time.


NMR:  Now, the internet informs me that you have written and published a half- a dozen short stories…in particular Loyalty and Detective. Why have you refrained from publishing the short stories as a book, a short story collection?

ST:  First, some of what appear to be short stories are in fact novel excerpts.  “Detective” for example is from Reversible Errors.  “Loyalty” however was a free-standing short story that appeared in Playboy’s 50th Anniversary edition, and was reprinted in “Best American Mystery Stories,” chosen that year by Joyce Carol Oates.  I am particularly proud of that, given my esteem for Joyce Oates’ writing.  As things stand, though, there are only four published short stories—still too few for a separate volume.  I am working on another called “Lost In His Own Woods” which I may finish someday.


NMR:  Could you please tell us more on the upcoming project- the sequel to PRESUMED INNOCENT? I guess it will be the most anticipated sequel in the history of legal thriller publishing. Will lawyer Rusty Sabich (or Judge Sabich if we go by LIMITATIONS) make a return? Please do tell us more.

ST:  Chief Judge Rusty Sabich will be among the central characters of the Presumed Innocent sequel.  At this stage, I am not letting anybody else play with my toys, so I won’t say more.  But I fully anticipate that it will be the next novel I publish.


NMR:  Is there a pressure on you in writing the sequel- I ask this particularly because Presumed Innocent had reinvigorated the legal thriller genre? And for the past twenty odd years, legal thriller genre has grown by leaps and bounds …..inspired by Presumed Innocent. So how do you feel??

ST:  Writing a sequel to Presumed Innocent is, as I have said a few times, like composing with a vulture on my shoulder.  But I never conceived of this until I had a very clear image one day of a man sitting on the edge of a bed where a dead body lay.  That was the starting point.  Within a few days I knew that man was Rusty Sabich. (There, I’ve told you a bit more.) I am becoming fully enmeshed in the imagined world and eventually that will be all that matters—fully experiencing those lives and getting as much of it as I can on paper.


Thank you Mr. Turow for sparing the time with us for this interview. I am highly, highly obliged.


For more info on Scott Turow, please visit his website at: