Suspect by Scott Turow
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This story is told in the first person by Pinky, a bisexual private investigator with a nail through her nose. She works for a local attorney who is defending the female police chief against allegations of sexually harassing male members of her force. As usual with Turow, the courtroom scenes are top-notch. The investigative stuff is more in the fantasy range, but generally fun overall. The author’s usual obsession with sex is apparent here, but somehow not as distasteful as usual. Pinky gets hung up on her neighbor, a mysterious fellow who is obviously up to no good, but his sexual prowess does not seem to be in doubt. Turow seems committed to diversity since we have black, white, Hmong, Chinese, Hispanic, and the whole rainbow flag of personnel here. Of course Pinky seems to be the only one who figures things out and is a rule-breaker, which gets her in hot spots, but, hey, this is a detective thriller, so you gotta expect that. The ending is too gadgety and implausible for my taste but overall I enjoyed the book.
One small cavil is the author’s misstatements of the law at times, which is surprising since he’s a Harvard Law School graduate. He even got something as basic as the Miranda rule wrong … twice. Near the beginning he says that if a cop rushes a suspect into a squad car and drives off without giving him Miranda warnings, anything the suspect says in the car can’t be used in court. Wrong. That’s only true if the officer questions him. Miranda is triggered by the combination of custody and questioning. Officers often wait until they get to the station and let the detectives do the questioning. Anything the suspect blurts out in the car is admissible. The second time, a suspect was being questioned by police and FBI without the warnings. He was told that he wasn’t under arrest “at this time”, but it was stated that it was obvious to everyone that if he tried to leave he would be arrested. That’s custody and that requires the warnings. There’s a lot of FBI procedure he gets wrong (I’m a retired FBI agent and legal advisor, so I know this stuff), like sending an expert out from the FBI lab, but I was happy to see that the FBI is portrayed as the good guys in this one.