Top critical review
Trial in the midst of cancer test
Reviewed in the United States on May 12, 2020
"The Last Trial" is the eleventh book by Turow set in Kindle county, a fictitious county, somewhere in the US heartland. In reading the prior novels I have become a fan of the author and sat down prepared to enjoy several hours of similar feelings towards his latest. The announced plot was very attractive. Sandy Stern, a retired defense attorney is called upon by his lifelong friend Kiril Pafko charged with insider trading, fraud and murder to defend him. Stern feels that he is morally obligated to take the case and does so. Pafko is also a previous winner of the Nobel prize in medicine and considered by his peers in the field as beyond reproach.
The novel is the story of the trial and that is both its strength and also its weak points. Turow touches on the thoughts, feelings and weaknesses of both men, the judge presiding, witnesses and people working on details on the sidelines. He allows us into both the current motivations of all concerned as well as describing the past that could be pertinent to present happenings. Taking part are also the families of the leading personnel. A major factor involved is that Pafko is accused of his crimes based on his presiding over a major study of a new cancer drug making it's way through the approval process of the FDA. (Food and Drug Administration). The path to finally marketing the new drug is based on obtaining the approval of that agency. The author does make the point that the FDA relies on the published findings of the company testing their own drug. The agency does not have the time nor the laboratory staff to do so on their own.
The weakness of the book is it's almost tedious relying on talk, re flexion, and reaction by the participants. This method turned my attention away from the read several times, losing the thread of the action due to a lack of it. My opinion of Turow's latest is that I was disappointed at it's apparent lack of forward motion, just happy to finish it which was done only as an obligation but still awaiting his next novel in order to grab it up.