Identical, based loosely on the myth of Castor and Pollux, is the story of identical twins, Paul and Cass Giannis, and the complex relationships between their family and their former neighbors, the Kronons. The audiobook focuses principally on events in 2008, when Paul is a candidate for Mayor of Kindle County, and Cass is released from the penitentiary, 25 years after pleading guilty to the murder of his girlfriend, Athena Kronon. The plot centers on the re-investigation of Athena's murder, carried out together by Evon Miller, an ex-FBI agent who is the head of security for the Kronon family business, and private investigator Tim Brodie, 81, a former homicide detective. The complex web of murder, sex, and betrayal - as only Scott Turow could weave - dramatically unfolds, and the chilling truth is revealed: People will believe what they want to believe.
©2013 Scott Turow (P)2013 Hachette
I was so looking forward to this novel, as two of my favorite Turow books, "Innocent" and "Presumed Innocent" are so rich in the details and drama of courtroom action. However, this story does not put the spotlight on the judge or attorneys.
Overall this is a complex story of two Greek families over a 25 year period. You need to pay close attention to get the numerous characters straight in your mind at the beginning, or it is easy to become lost. The two main players are Paul and Cass Giannis, identical twin brothers.
I found this a difficult review to do since there is so much going on, but I've condensed it to the following:
The story starts in 1982 at the home of Zeus Kronon during his annual Labor Day party. Among the guests are Lidia Giannis and her twin boys who are 25 at the time. The Giannis family and Kronon family have a shaky history, especially between Lidia and Zeus, but that doesn't keep their children from being friends. Unfortunately that day turns out to change the future of both families lives. Zeus Kronon's daughter, Dita, is found murdered in her bedroom after the guests have gone home, and Cass Giannis is quickly arrested on circumstantial evidence. He agrees to a 25 year sentence if he can serve it in a minimum security prison. No trial is necessary and the deal is agreed to.
Jump ahead to 2008. Paul Giannis is running for mayor. Cass Giannis is about to get out of prison. Dita's brother, Hal, a wealthy businessman, is against it and starts a media campaign to stop his release. This is where the real story starts. Hal asks his head of security, Evon Miller and a former homicide detective, Tim Brodie, to investigate and see if they can turn up any new information from the murder 25 years ago. Hal has never been convinced that Paul wasn't involved in some way, and is using the suggestion of his involvement to stall his campaign for mayor.
Back and forth the story is slowly revealed to us over time, from the Labor Day party and the actions of people on that day, then back to the present and what the investigation is turning up.
I liked the story, and it had enough momentum to keep me listening. The only small complaints I would mention are 1) the narrator is ok, but gets a little monotone, and 2) there is a lot of extraneous material that just goes nowhere. This is mostly related to Evon's girlfriend who keeps popping up throughout, and has no real relevance to the story.
Turow did keep me entertained throughout. There are a ton of suspects- - it is never really clear until almost the very end who murdered Dita and why. Recommended!
I enjoyed Identical a lot -- liked the information about twins, about DNA, and Turow's understanding of family and love. After Presumed Innocent and Innocent, I was ready for more courtroom drama, which I enjoy, but Turow takes a different approach here. A ruminative description and contemplation of the dynamic between two families, and an interesting plot that involves a 25 year old murder, and what it does to all the people in the dense world Turow describes. I read Jacqueline's review above with care before beginning, and went back to it a couple of times in the first third of the book, while I was getting the intricate characters and plot fixed in my mind. Also, I liked the performance fine: the reader reads the words with proper inflection, and otherwise stays of out the way. I also like past Turow readers, and was disappointed not to hear the familiar voices from other books.
Turow had a great idea for a story and then... phoned it in. Gone was the courtroom drama Turow is so good at. It is replaced by lots of bickering and blathering by the characters. While I appreciate the attempt to give each character "depth," it really didn't seem to work.
I don't think it's helped by the narrator at all. He really only has one "voice" and, while he can give that voice an accent if need be, and he does know how to give a passage "emphasis," his characters all sound pretty much the same so, even after several hours into it, you will still be unable to tell who is speaking by listening. That means that you can get lost easily if you're not listening carefully to be told who has spoken. He doesn't perform the book as much as he just reads it.
Yes, "Identical" presents us with a bit of a departure for Turow, particularly if you love his wonderful courtroom scenes; but try to keep your mind open to something new from Turow. You will still find some good courtroom scenes here -- actually, some pretty brilliant legal thinking from Judge Du Bois Lands -- but mostly, in "Identical," Turow is branching off into something like Jeffrey Archer territory: a family drama enacted over decades. For example, if you liked Archer's "Sons of Fortune," then you might enjoy Turow's "Identical." Of course, identical twins present a wealth of plot possibilities for a novelist; and Turow takes full advantage of them to create an intriguing mystery. For instance, did you know that identical twins do not have 𝒆𝙭𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙡𝙮 identical DNA, nor 𝒆𝙭𝙖𝙘𝙩𝙡𝙮 identical fingerprints? Turow uses this phenomenon to construct a legal puzzle. I would not call "Identical" a legal thriller, like Turow's previous offerings. Rather, I would put it more into the legal mystery/drama genre, á 𝘭𝘢 Jeffrey Archer. Although I wouldn't rank narrator Henry Leyva among my favorite narrators, he does have a nice voice, and does an adequate job of reading "Identical" for us. Overall, I would recommend "Identical" to mystery-lovers, and even to Turow fans, as long as you keep your mind open to a departure from form.
Good story. Stilted reading
Rhythm didn't flow. His inflection and rhythm was like driving over a bumpy road
Leyva didn't do Turow justice - so to speak,
I believe a reviewer should finish a book before submitting a review. What do you think?
Yes this book is a bit of a disappointment. I really like this author, his previous books: Limitations, Innocent , Presumed Innocent , Reversible Errors, and Burden of Proof... well I've given them reviews of 4 or 5 stars.
This time however Mr. Turow misses the mark. The story gets bogged down with too many unnecessary and uninteresting characters. The plot if executed better would have been very engaging. But this time the author spends so much time with family feuds and character quirks, he loses momentum and the reader/listener gets lost in the details that are frankly just not that interesting. By the time the "good part" happened I kind of lost focus and just didn't care that much any more. Next book I hope Mr. Turow gets back on track!
His style is better that not quite a monotone. Had the book kept my interest my view of the narrator might have changed
I was disappointed in this effort by Turow. It almost seemed to me that a book was due where he could make a few bucks. I felt he got away from his base of having an attornet represent a client well.
Spent too much time sorting out the players in a muddled opening and it did not get better. I guess this has something to do with the genetics of identical twins, but frankly, who cares. Just because Turow tries to spice it up with politicians and billionaires, does not an interesting novel make. More evidence of a one-hit wonder!
I'm a big Scott Turow fan, so I was excited to see he had a new novel. Very disappointing. The brilliant twists and turns of Presumed Innocent just weren't here. I guessed the mysteries too far in advance to feel any sense of satisfaction. My recommendation is that you check out any other of Turow's very entertaining books.
As someone who who has heard or read Scott Turows' other novels, I was expecting a better story. The narration was poorly done and did not seem to mesh with the story. The narrator of previous books did a much better job. The story itself had a fair plot, but was not up to Turow standards. I was easy to figure the various twists and switches that were supposed to keep the reader spellbound but did not.
Turow should stick to his former cast and and formula; it is a winner.
Any one of the other narrators who have read Turows' other books.
Evans' girlfriend. She adds nothing to the story, and not because of her sexual orientation.
i would like to return it, but have recently returned another book I did not like, and do not want to make this a practice.
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