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Friday, April 5, 2013

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town

Ah, yes, John Grisham again. The Innocent Man this time. You didn't think he would stay away from this blog long, did you?

In 1982, a small town sees a gruesome murder of a beautiful young woman in her apartment. The authorities focus on Ron Williamson, a man known for his mental instability, drinking, and womanizing. The only problem is Ron didn't kill Debra Sue Carter. Five years after the murder he is convicted and sent to death row. Only with the gusto and determination of his sisters and lawyers who believed in true justice he and his so-called accomplice were released almost two decades later. Lying jailhouse snitches, tainted evidence, and ignored alibis allowed a true murderer to go free for so long.

True crime, here I am, at your service! What I enjoyed most about this book was that it read like a typical John Grisham story while actually being true. Grisham clearly did his research and left not a stone unturned in his search for Ron and Dennis's stories, and in turn Debbie's. Grisham obviously set out to write a wrongful conviction story, and he sure as hell got one. Ron's story is not the first of justice wrongly served, and he certainly won't be the last. But perhaps we can learn something about overeager prosecutors and investigators unwilling to cast a wide net in search of justice?

This was a great read for a relaxing day. It doesn't tax the mind too much yet still provides a thrilling reading experience (as in, it's a "thriller"). The story kept me interested in knee deep in the lives of Ada, Oklahoma's residents. I am looking forward to picking up Dreams of Ada, a book about two other men who were wrongfully convicted by the same court over a "dream confession", which figured prominently in the overturning of convictions of Ron and Dennis.

Get this book for yourself. Kindle version on the left, hard copy on the right.

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