Primal Fear by William Diehl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Aaron Stampler is found in a confessional booth holding a knife, proclaiming his innocence, after someone killed the revered Bishop of the city. Martin Vail, a quick-witted lawyer who isn't afraid to leap before he looks, is basically coerced into defending the young man who appears guilty in every sense of the word. Every politician in the city seems to have a vendetta against Vail and looks foward to seeing him lose the case.
Liked the movie. Loved the book. As with most book-to-movie adaptations, the book was better. Unlike his movie persona, Vail isn't cool, well-dressed sauveness that Richard Gere presented. The Vail in the book is a man who isn't overly concerned about his personal appearance, and he isn't afraid to grab at straws, and he makes lawyers tremble just at the mention of his name.
The book also provided more insight on Aaron. You get a taste of his childhood and find out more about what molded him. In the book, Aaron is a genius, despite the accent and his angelic appearance. His childhood wasn't the best thing, and he's even described as being able to detach himself from tragedies. Is that enough to make him a killer? Is he mentally stable?
I'm sure by now, most people have heard about the twist, but that doesn't take the impact away from reading it for yourself. I read the "twist" over and over again, even though I've seen the movie and knew what to expect. A first-rate legal thriller. I can't wait to read the sequel.
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