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The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town

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The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town Cover

ISBN13: 9780385517232
ISBN10: 0385517238
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

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Staff Pick

An equally absorbing and troubling inquiry into a case of criminal injustice, Grisham's nonfiction debut equals the storytelling of his unparalleled fiction.
Recommended by Chandler, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

John Grisham's first work of nonfiction, an exploration of small town justice gone terribly awry, is his most extraordinary legal thriller yet.

In the major league draft of 1971, the first player chosen from the State of Oklahoma was Ron Williamson. When he signed with the Oakland As, he said goodbye to his hometown of Ada and left to pursue his dreams of big league glory.

Six years later he was back, his dreams broken by a bad arm and bad habits — drinking, drugs, and women. He began to show signs of mental illness. Unable to keep a job, he moved in with his mother and slept twenty hours a day on her sofa.

In 1982, a 21-year-old cocktail waitress in Ada named Debra Sue Carter was raped and murdered, and for five years the police could not solve the crime. For reasons that were never clear, they suspected Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz. The two were finally arrested in 1987 and charged with capital murder.

With no physical evidence, the prosecution's case was built on junk science and the testimony of jailhouse snitches and convicts. Dennis Fritz was found guilty and given a life sentence. Ron Williamson was sent to death row.

If you believe that in America you are innocent until proven guilty, this book will shock you. If you believe in the death penalty, this book will disturb you. If you believe the criminal justice system is fair, this book will infuriate you.

Review:

"Grisham has written both an American tragedy and his strongest legal thriller yet, all the more gripping because it happens to be true. (Grade: B+)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"Compared with other works in its genre, The Innocent Man is less spectacular than sturdy. It is a reminder not only of how propulsively Mr. Grisham's fiction is constructed but of how difficult it is to make messy reality behave in clear, streamlined fashion." Janet Maslin, The New York Times

Review:

"[Grisham's] prose here isn't as good as it is in his novels — he too often misuses 'like' for 'as,' and the exclamation points he inserts as ironic asides are clumsy — but his reasoning is sound and his passion is contagious." Jonathan Yardley, The Washington Post Book World

Review:

"Grisham has crafted a legal thriller every bit as suspenseful and fast-paced as his best-selling fiction....An Innocent Man is a page-turning and chilling descent into one innocent man's Kafkaesque nightmare of injustice and madness." Boston Globe

Review:

"Thanks to his abundant storytelling skills, the author delivers an account that is as vivid as the Grisham fictional fare sold at airport kiosks — but it is also, alas, just as oversimplified as his novels, and it distorts the justice system in the same way." The Wall Street Journal

Review:

"John Grisham's first work of nonfiction, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, tells a deeply troubling story about wrongful criminal convictions, the denial of basic constitutional rights and the unjust imposition of the death penalty." The Oregonian

Review:

"Despite my lack of enthusiasm for Grisham's fiction, I wish The Innocent Man had been a novel. Why? Because the true story Grisham tells is awful to contemplate." Denver Post

Review:

"Grisham [speaks out about the injustice of capital punishment] in a voice loud and clear and through a book that fully explains why the nation needs to reexamine the process by which we sentence criminals to be executed." BookReporter.com

Synopsis:

John Grisham's first work of nonfiction, an exploration of small town justice gone terribly awry, is his most extraordinary legal thriller yet. Those who believe in "innocent until proven guilty" or that the criminal justice system is fair will be shocked and infuriated.

About the Author

John Grisham is the author of The Broker, Skipping Christmas, The Summons, A Painted House, The Brethren, The Testament, The Street Lawyer, The Partner, The Runaway Jury, The Rainmaker, The Chamber, The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Firm, and A Time to Kill. He lives with his family in Mississippi and Virginia.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 4 comments:

Teresa Vaughan, May 1, 2008 (view all comments by Teresa Vaughan)
I began reading this book without reading the inner flap, and so not realizing it was a true story. I was even more intrigued when I did realize it. Well written and appalling, this is a good example of The System gone unbelievably wrong. A persuasive argument against the death penalty, this story could sway even a staunch proponent.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(0 of 2 readers found this comment helpful)
madmom, June 26, 2007 (view all comments by madmom)
This book is tells the true, the injustice of the town, jail house snitches that the Legal (joke) system are still making deals with and making their word out to be true. Legal system still make the comments to the paper that aren't the whole truth. This book tells it all even a DA that still has a job, after the hatchet job he did to those two men.
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(7 of 16 readers found this comment helpful)
ashleym_20062002, January 29, 2007 (view all comments by ashleym_20062002)
I love this book...It has kept me interested since I have started to read it!
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(10 of 17 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 4 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385517232
Author:
Grisham, John
Publisher:
Doubleday Books
Subject:
Penology
Subject:
Trials (Murder)
Subject:
Legal System
Subject:
Capital punishment
Subject:
Murder - General
Subject:
Williamson, Ronald Keith
Subject:
Trials (Murder) - Oklahoma
Subject:
Crime - True Crime
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Publication Date:
October 10, 2006
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
368
Dimensions:
9.44x6.48x1.23 in. 1.48 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
History and Social Science » Crime » Enforcement and Investigation
History and Social Science » Crime » Prisons and Prisoners
History and Social Science » Crime » True Crime
History and Social Science » Law » General

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 368 pages Doubleday Books - English 9780385517232 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

An equally absorbing and troubling inquiry into a case of criminal injustice, Grisham's nonfiction debut equals the storytelling of his unparalleled fiction.

"Review" by , "Grisham has written both an American tragedy and his strongest legal thriller yet, all the more gripping because it happens to be true. (Grade: B+)"
"Review" by , "Compared with other works in its genre, The Innocent Man is less spectacular than sturdy. It is a reminder not only of how propulsively Mr. Grisham's fiction is constructed but of how difficult it is to make messy reality behave in clear, streamlined fashion."
"Review" by , "[Grisham's] prose here isn't as good as it is in his novels — he too often misuses 'like' for 'as,' and the exclamation points he inserts as ironic asides are clumsy — but his reasoning is sound and his passion is contagious."
"Review" by , "Grisham has crafted a legal thriller every bit as suspenseful and fast-paced as his best-selling fiction....An Innocent Man is a page-turning and chilling descent into one innocent man's Kafkaesque nightmare of injustice and madness."
"Review" by , "Thanks to his abundant storytelling skills, the author delivers an account that is as vivid as the Grisham fictional fare sold at airport kiosks — but it is also, alas, just as oversimplified as his novels, and it distorts the justice system in the same way."
"Review" by , "John Grisham's first work of nonfiction, The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, tells a deeply troubling story about wrongful criminal convictions, the denial of basic constitutional rights and the unjust imposition of the death penalty."
"Review" by , "Despite my lack of enthusiasm for Grisham's fiction, I wish The Innocent Man had been a novel. Why? Because the true story Grisham tells is awful to contemplate."
"Review" by , "Grisham [speaks out about the injustice of capital punishment] in a voice loud and clear and through a book that fully explains why the nation needs to reexamine the process by which we sentence criminals to be executed."
"Synopsis" by , John Grisham's first work of nonfiction, an exploration of small town justice gone terribly awry, is his most extraordinary legal thriller yet. Those who believe in "innocent until proven guilty" or that the criminal justice system is fair will be shocked and infuriated.
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