Two formidable men collide in this "first-class legal thriller" and New York Times bestseller about a celebrated criminal defense lawyer and the prosecution of his lifelong friend -- a doctor accused of murder (David Baldacci).
At eighty-five years old, Alejandro "Sandy" Stern, a brilliant defense lawyer with his health failing but spirit intact, is on the brink of retirement. But when his old friend Dr. Kiril Pafko, a former Nobel Prize winner in Medicine, is faced with charges of insider trading, fraud, and murder, his entire life's work is put in jeopardy, and Stern decides to take on one last trial.
In a case that will be the defining coda to both men's accomplished lives, Stern probes beneath the surface of his friend's dazzling veneer as a distinguished cancer researcher. As the trial progresses, he will question everything he thought he knew about his friend. Despite Pafko's many failings, is he innocent of the terrible charges laid against him? How far will Stern go to save his friend, and -- no matter the trial's outcome -- will he ever know the truth?
Stern's duty to defend his client and his belief in the power of the judicial system both face a final, terrible test in the courtroom, where the evidence and reality are sometimes worlds apart.
Full of the deep insights into the spaces where the fragility of human nature and the justice system collide, Scott Turow's The Last Trial is a masterful legal thriller that unfolds in page-turning suspense -- and questions how we measure a life.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
We first met urbane defense attorney Sandy Stern in Scott Turow’s first bestseller, 1987’s Presumed Innocent—and he’s shown up regularly in the author’s legal thrillers ever since. Now 85, Sandy might not be in top form physically, but his mind is as sharp as ever. It’s a good thing, too, because his friend Dr. Kiril Pafko, who’s been spearheading a revolutionary new cancer treatment, has been confronted with damning evidence linking him to fraud and even murder. Sandy’s experience tells him there’s something fishy about the accusations, but could his judgment be clouded by friendship—or by the fact that he’s taking this new wonder drug himself? As the twists kept piling up, we couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. The Last Trial is a thrilling read that explores the dark things people will do when the pressures of loyalty and success become too much to bear.
The ominous prologue, in which Sandy Stern, an acclaimed defense attorney in his 80s, collapses in a federal courtroom, hovers over the rest of bestseller Turow's impressive legal thriller, his 11th linked to Illinois's fictional Kindle County (after 2017's Testimony). In 2019, Stern and his daughter are representing Kiril Palko, a Nobel Prize winner and old friend, who's accused of covering up deaths resulting from the use of Palko's breakthrough cancer treatment and then cashing in stocks before news of the fatalities becomes public. Stern, who has vowed that this will be the last case he handles, is aware that both his body and mind are not what they once were. The twisty plot leaves the question of Palko's guilt unsettled until the very end. While this entry lacks the gut punches of the author's best books, it's still a page-turner that makes a trial centered on fraud and insider trading fascinating. Turow remains in a class of his own in conveying the subtleties of criminal defense work while also entertaining his readers. 7-city author tour.