17 May 2010



A sainted bishop is murdered - and not just murdered, but mutilated and dismembered. An angelic young man, Aaron Stampler, is found moments later hiding in the bishop's confessional, covered in blood and clutching the murder weapon, a butcher's knife. His only words are that he's innocent.
Martin Vail is the most brilliant lawyer in Chicago. He's so good he's managed to infuriate every judge, prosecutor and politician in the state. Now they have the opportunity to exact their revenge - they force him to defend the accused murderer. But Aaron's innocence looks increasingly plausible to Vail: and what he eventually unleashes in the cause of justice has consequences that reach shockingly beyond the limits of a single crime.
..... Inner, front cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Summation to the jury): 'I believe in the law.'
MEMORABLE MOMENT: To Goodman, there was always something incomplete, yet eerily personal, about the scene of a homicide, a sense that somehow the victim would not really be dead until the place was cleaned and painted and restored to its old order and until all evidence f violence had been eradicated.
A book which started slowly and, for a while, seemed to be going nowhere but then soared, taking your breath away - I really cannot praise Primal Fear highly enough.
Following the murder of a bishop, this novel follows the legal process that will see Aaron Stampler either condemned to death or facing a lifetime in an asylum for the criminally insane. Being English, this was a process that was totally alien to me but held my fascination throughout.
A wonderful read, full of totally believable characters, a plot that twists and turns often with the turning of the page and an ending that was unexpected and explosive - it truly took my breath away.
Character-wise I really liked the fact that as much attention to detail was given to characters both major and minor. Prosecuting and defending lawyers (Jane Verables and Martin Vail) were particularly well written and 100% believable - so alike, ruthless, driven and with such a great desire to win, they were both strong individuals, making for good reading.
Also believable, and a particular favourite with me, was psychologist/psychiatrist Molly Arington who though strong and determined, is, at the same time,very feminine and somehow quite vulnerable creating a wonderfully complex character. Then there is Aaron Stampler himself - hugely readable as a character, he is by turn highly vulnerable and then very sinister.

A truly thrilling novel, I can see this being be made into a film.

Primal Fear was passed on from my mam who rated it ten out of ten.


Alexia561 said...

Good review! I don't usually read legal thrillers, yet now I'm curious about what happens and if Aaron is innocent or not!

BTW, my cat refused to use her scratching post until I turned it on it's side, and now she loves it! Strange kitty. :)

Vivienne said...

I am so pleased to hear you loved it. I have to admit that I am not really drawn to legal thrillers and I don't know why. It just seems to be a genre that I can't get into.

Karen said...

Hi! You stopped at my blog tis morning (For What It's Worth) so I'm stopping by yours now....great review!!
Like Alexia and yourself I'm not drawn to legal thrillers but you did make this one sound interesting.

Nina said...

Great review, I'm not a huge fan of thrillers, but this one sounds really nice.

themethatisme said...

People murdering Bishops? How incredible.

jacabur1 said...

Primal Fear is also a movie years ago they made it with Richard Gere as the Martin Vail character and Edward Norton as Aaron Stampler, if you think the book was good you have to watch the spine chiller movie!!!

jackie b central texas

Kissed by an Angel said...

Don't like thrillers much!! I get too anxious!!

Kelly said...

Trying to recall if I've seen the movie version of this....

It does sound quite good!!

April said...

Great review! This sounds like a great book!!

Betty Manousos:cutand-dry.blogspot.com said...

Loved your review.
That book sounds interesting.
I need to add it to my "to-read" list.
Have a great week!!
B xx

You never fail to amaze me with your great taste.

Pam said...

This one sounds really good. I can see it being made into a movie also. You did a great job with the review! Now I want to go buy a copy for my "spare time."

Oddyoddyo13 said...

Its sounded intriguing-gave me chills! Glad you liked it. :) I've always thought that you can never underestimate a believable character.

Book Quoter said...

I might read this. I need a legal thriller for my list.

Jenners said...

It was made into a film ... and excellent film (or were you joking?????). I actually only saw the film and it blew my mind! Blew my mind! Amazing!

chitra said...

Peeped in to say HI
I am going on a vacation to the beautiful beaches of Goa. shall come back with more posts on My pilgrimage..

Melissa (My World...in words and pages) said...

Great review! This sounds like a rather intriguing mystery read. Thank you. Glad to hear you enjoyed it so.

GMR said...

Definitely sounds like a great legal thriller! Brings to mind works like 'The Client' and 'The Juror'...might have to check it out. Thanks for sharing!