cover image The Last Trial

The Last Trial

Scott Turow. Grand Central, $29 (464p) ISBN 978-1-5387-4813-8

The ominous prologue, in which Sandy Stern, an acclaimed defense attorney in his 80s, collapses in a federal courtroom, hovers over the rest of bestseller Turow’s impressive legal thriller, his 11th linked to Illinois’s fictional Kindle County (after 2017’s Testimony). In 2019, Stern and his daughter are representing Kiril Palko, a Nobel Prize winner and old friend, who’s accused of covering up deaths resulting from the use of Palko’s breakthrough cancer treatment and then cashing in stocks before news of the fatalities becomes public. Stern, who has vowed that this will be the last case he handles, is aware that both his body and mind are not what they once were. The twisty plot leaves the question of Palko’s guilt unsettled until the very end. While this entry lacks the gut punches of the author’s best books, it’s still a page-turner that makes a trial centered on fraud and insider trading fascinating. Turow remains in a class of his own in conveying the subtleties of criminal defense work while also entertaining his readers. 7-city author tour. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman. (May)