About Me

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Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada
I am a lawyer in Melfort, Saskatchewan, Canada who enjoys reading, especially mysteries. Since 2000 I have been writing personal book reviews. This blog includes my reviews, information on and interviews with authors and descriptions of mystery bookstores I have visited. I strive to review all Saskatchewan mysteries. Other Canadian mysteries are listed under the Rest of Canada. As a lawyer I am always interested in legal mysteries. I have a separate page for legal mysteries. Occasionally my reviews of legal mysteries comment on the legal reality of the mystery. You can follow the progression of my favourite authors with up to 15 reviews. Each year I select my favourites in "Bill's Best of ----". As well as current reviews I am posting reviews from 2000 to 2011. Below my most recent couple of posts are the posts of Saskatchewan mysteries I have reviewed alphabetically by author. If you only want a sentence or two description of the book and my recommendation when deciding whether to read the book look at the bold portion of the review. If you would like to email me the link to my email is on the profile page.

Friday, February 23, 2024

Suspect by Scott Turow

(12. - 1195.) Suspect by Scott Turow - Pinky, Sandy Stern’s granddaughter, is back. She appeared in The Last Trial helping her grandfather, who was featured in over a generation of Turow’s books. Stern was a suave distinguished lawyer. Pinky is a raucous reckless young woman who was cast out from the police academy. She has tattoos spread around her body. While an unlikely figure to aid lawyers she has a vital aptitude for an investigator. In her words “I love to snoop and pry”.

Beyond the ink Pinky, now 33, has a striking presence with a “magenta Mohawk (and a blue undercut on one side)”. Much of the time she has a nail in her nose (it is Goth jewelry in that it breaks apart rather than going through her nose).

She spends hours on YouTube looking to “master” PIBOT:

It means the Private Investigator’s Bag of Tricks. That started with a concealed carry permit, training included in my private investigator’s course. Now I’m always reading about and practicing skills - surveillance techniques, disguises, clever ruses to get people to talk.

She is working for Rik (he has removed the “c” in an unsuccessful attempt to be cool) Dudek who is at the opposite end of the criminal defence spectrum from Sandy. He handles “bar fights and first-time DUIs and drunken stunts by teenagers”.

Now 52, Rik is hoping a new case “might help him finally step up”. Highland Isle Police Chief Gomez is “accused by three officers of demanding sex in exchange for promotions on the force - “sextortion”. A friend of Rik’s since childhood, Chief Lucia Gomez-Barrera has a big personality. She denies the accusations of her male accusers.

Pinky obsesses a bit on her adjoining apartment dweller. (Their combined apartments were once a single apartment.) She thinks of him as “the weird guy next door”. He is a “creature of unvarying habit”. Every night he gets takeout from a small Mexican restaurant. Lacking a name she dubs him “TWO”. Pinky does live in her own world.

The City of Highland Isle (HI) is on an island in Kindle County and was long controlled by the mob. Their presence lingers.

My reader’s heart stopped for a moment when I read that Sandy is now in assisted living. Her Pops gives her his Cadillac CTS when he goes to the facility.

Pinky is tasked with finding the evidence that can discredit the accusers. She looks up a past lover, Toyo (Toy) Eo, who has been an HIPD officer for 12 years seeking to make her a personal confidential informant. 

Pinky has no filter. Wanting to know what is in a trunk in his locker she breaks and enters but her pick breaks in the lock. She escapes the situation but has risked her future to satisfy her curiosity.

Two weeks before the Chief’s hearing they still have no evidence to shake the accusers. Somehow a local real estate tycoon, Ritz Vojczek, whom she fired from the police department early on as Chief, has something on the complainants.

At the first stage of the hearing Rik has the rare experience of evidence that allows him to destroy the credibility of an accuser on cross-examination. I did wonder if Turow was, not so subtly, showing how crucifying an alleged male victim of sexual harassment produces nary a complaint.

I realize it is a challenge to identify a character whose identity is unknown to Pinky but “TWO” felt so artificial.

TWO is identified as Koob and becomes an important character. 

I was never comfortable with the TWO / Koob subplot. While connected I found it more of a distraction.

It took 150 pages but the book took off when the hearing is turned upside down. Sudden death, possibly a murder complicates the sextortion proceedings.

While the key evidence is not found by accident the circumstances defy credibility.

The conclusion is classic thriller though the landscape is not littered with bodies. The ending has nothing to do with lawyers and legal proceedings.

The book is really about Pinky as an investigator for the lawyers. The lawyers play a secondary role. The court proceedings are well done as always with Turow. While Pinky is fascinating I prefer Turow's books that concentrate on law and lawyers.

I have found Turow’s books vary in quality. Suspect is not one of the best. It is a well told mystery but I know he can do better.


Turow, Scott – (2000) - Personal Injuries (Third best fiction of 2000); (2003) - Reversible Errors (Tied for the best fiction in 2003); (2007) - Ordinary Heroes; (2011) - Innocent; (2012) - One L (My Review) and One L (Michael Selnes review) and Thoughts on Reviews of One L by Myself and Michael; (2014) - Identical; (2018) - Testimony and Lawyers and Opportunities in International Criminal Courts; (2020) - The Last Trial - Opening and Mid-Trial and Closing


  1. I am sorry to hear about Sandy Stern, Bill, and just writing that reminds me of what a talented writer Turow is. Stern is a real character to me. At any rate, it's interesting to think about what lawyers' investigators do, so on that score, this one interests me. It doesn't, though, sound like the sort of legal/courtroom tense story that Turow does so well.

    1. Margot: Sandy's last trial truly was his last trial. He remains important to Pinky but is living a simple life and enjoying his facility. I am not sure how closely Pinky's work is related to real life. In Canada it is uncommon for a lawyer to have a private investigator on staff.

  2. It is a little late to say this but I really should start read these books by Scott Turow. I did not realize that they had continuing characters.

    1. TracyK: Thanks for the comment. Some of Turow's books (most of his best books) follow some of the characters but several of his books are standalone.