Pleading Guilty Essay - Critical Essays

Scott Turow

Pleading Guilty

With PLEADING GUILTY, Scott Turow, a practicing attorney, continues his examination of the legal milieu of the fictional Midwestern metropolis of Center City, previously depicted in two best-sellers. Turow successfully combines the strengths of his earlier books: the engrossing mystery of PRESUMED INNOCENT (1987) and the acute character studies of THE BURDEN OF PROOF (1990).

Lawyer Mack Malloy is appointed by his firm to find Bert Kamin, their missing partner, suspected of having run off with money from a fund for settling lawsuits against TransNational Air, the firm’s major client. Malloy’s superiors seem to be less concerned with recovering the money than with assessing blame, and the unpredictable Bert seems a perfect patsy.

Mack discovers Bert’s addiction to gambling on sporting events, his love affair with a college basketball referee, and a corpse in his refrigerator. He also finds out how the powerful Jake Eiger has diverted the $5.6 million to a dubious bank in Central America and how no one in the firm wants to face up to the complicated duplicities at play. After Mack has an affair with one of the partners and confides in her, she must choose between her loyalties to him and to the firm.

PLEADING GUILTY questions the morality of certain practices in the legal profession without being didactic. Turow paints vivid portraits of the principals, with Mack emerging as a vengeful everyman given his first opportunity to strike back at forces that previously held him powerless.

Sources for Further Study

Booklist. LXXXIX, April 1, 1993, p.1387.

Chicago Tribune. May 30, 1993, XIV, p.3.

The Christian Science Monitor. July 12, 1993, p.13.

Fortune. CXXVIII, August 9, 1993, p.99.

Los Angeles Times Book Review. June 13, 1993, p.11.

The New York Times Book Review. XCVIII, June 6, 1993, p.7.

Newsweek. CXXII, July 5, 1993, p.55.

Publishers Weekly. CCXL, April 19, 1993, p.47.

Time. CXLI, May 31, 1993, p.66.

The Wall Street Journal. June 9, 1993, p. AlO.

The Washington Post Book World. XXIII, June 27, 1993, p.1.