I read Personal Injuries by Scott Turow on holiday. It seemed the right thing to do. Turow is the legal thriller writer who got gazumped by John Grisham. There he was, eeking out nice little pot-boilers like Presumed Innocent (Harrison Ford’s wife did it) and Grisham ploughed in with his more streamlined prose, nicely black and white villains and shot Turow out of the water.

This may well be just as well, since it is quite clear from Personal Injuries that Turow is not all that interested in writing legal thrillers. Sure his tale of bent judges selling cases is interesting enough. But with this meat you get the gravy of the lead character, Robbie Feaver who really likes lying. A lawyer who likes lying, there’s a twist – a cynic would say, and Turow makes good gravy out of this. Using this base he delves into an alternative morality based not on objective truth or goodness, but on doing right by people. The progression of the case is truth be told rather dull: the conversations between Feaver and his FBI handler are what keeps this book going.

I like fiction about lying, and liars. The metaphysical side of Turow’s novel in the end overpowers the actual plot and readers looking for a light read would have started using it for a beach pillow before then. The side jaunts into sympathetic lesbianism and terminal illness probably don’t help. I enjoyed it, but the lack of reviews on the usually overwhelmed Amazon site, plus the ability to buy it for 1p on same site suggests that Grisham has well and truly won this one.