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Author Scott Turow Discusses His Latest Legal Thriller ‘Identical’

Aired 8/4/14 on KPBS Midday Edition.

Author Scott Turow Discusses His Latest Legal Thriller 'Identical'

GUEST

Scott Turow, Author, "Identical"

Transcript

Readers and film-goers first got to know writer Scott Turow from his best-selling novel of lust, murder and legal politics called "Presumed Innocent." Since that time, Turow has written a series of legal thrillers as well as non-fiction books, all while continuing to work as an attorney.

His latest novel, "Identical," handles a hot topic in the world of law and justice. It takes a second look at an old murder case and the man convicted to settle lingering doubts about who was really guilty.

Turow will be in San Diego Tuesday to discuss and sign copies of his latest legal thriller.

Credit: scottturow.com

Portrait of legal writer Scott Turow

Scott Turow Book Signing

Tuesday, August 5 at 6:30 p.m.

Qualcomm

5775 Morehouse Drive

San Diego, CA 92121

This is a ticketed event

Excerpt from "Identical":

Paul — September 5, 1982

Many years from now, whenever he thinks back to Dita Kronon's murder, Paul Gianis's memories will always return to the start of the day. It is September 5, 1982, the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, a lush afternoon with high clouds lustrous as pearls. Zeus Kronon, Dita's father, has opened the sloping grounds of his suburban mansion to hundreds of his fellow parishioners from St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in the city for their annual celebration of the ecclesiastical New Year. Down the hill, in the grassy riverside meadow that serves as a parking lot, Paul arrives with his mother and his identical twin brother, Cass. The next few hours with both of them, Paul knows, will be an ordeal.

On the driver's side, Cass is out of the old Datsun coupe instantly. "I need to find Dita," he says, referring to his girlfriend, Zeus's daughter.

Their mother climbs from the passenger seat with Paul's assistance, watching her other son sling his suit coat over his shoulder and bound up the hill.

"Theae mou," she mutters in Greek and quickly makes the sign of the cross after invoking God in dismay.

"Mom," Paul says, now that his brother is gone, "what are we doing here really?"

Lidia, their mother, condenses her thick eyebrows, as if she doesn't understand.

"You refuse to come to this picnic every year," he says, "because of how much Dad hates Zeus."

"No more than I," quietly answers Lidia, who rarely concedes priority in anything. Together, with Lidia hanging on to her son's arm for support, Paul and she start up the gravel path toward Zeus's vast white house with its low-pitched gables and Corinthian columns. "This picnic is for the church, not Zeus. I've missed many of our former neighbors, and I have not been face-to-face with Nouna Teri in months."

"You talk to Teri every day."

"Paulie mou ," — literally 'My Paul,' — "I didn't make you come here."

"I had to, Mom. You're up to something. Cass and I both know it." "Am I?" asks Lidia. "I didn't realize that when you received your law degree, you also became a mind reader."

"You're going to make some kind of trouble about Dita." "Trouble?" Lidia snorts. At 63, their mother has grown somewhat stout, but she retains a regal manner, a tall woman with fierce dark eyes and a wide spray of graying hair pushed back from her brow. "Dita makes enough trouble by herself. Even Teri admits that, and the girl is her niece. If Cass marries Dita, your father will never speak to him again."

"Mom, that's just old-country nonsense like believing in the evil eye. Cass and I aren't going to carry on your crazy feud with Zeus. And we're twenty-five years old. You have to let Cass make his own decisions."

"Who says?" answers Lidia, adding a sudden chuckle and a squeeze of Paul's bicep to lighten the mood. That is their mother's idea of wit, laughing when she says something she means.

At the top of the hill, the picnic is a sensory barrage. The gums and spices, still smoking in the censers after a brief religious service, mingle with the aromas of four whole lambs roasting over oak, while the frenetic, high-pitched music of a bouzouki band lances the air to welcome the hundreds of guests crowding onto the lawn.

Teri, Zeus's sister, their mother's best friend since Lidia and Teri were both seven years old, awaits them with her scarecrow mop of dyed yellow hair. She embraces Paul and his mother. Zeus's son, Hal, is beside Teri, greeting the guests. At forty, Hal is fat and awkward and overeager, the kind of person who always approaches you in the pathetic hapless manner of a slobbering dog. Even so, Paul re- tains a soft spot for Hal, whom Cass and he used to follow around like puppies twenty years ago, in the days before a quarrel about the lease on Paul's father's grocery divided their families. Like Paul, Hal seems willing to ignore all that. He hugs Paul's mother, whom he still calls "Auntie Lidia," and chats idly with Paul before Teri leads Lidia away. A covey of their friends awaits them in the deep shade of one of the many blue-and-white-striped tents pitched across the lawn. Reluctantly, Paul heads into this jumble of people from his childhood whose old-world ways and ponderous expectations he's always longed to escape.

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