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by Adrienne Petterson © 2006     About Me

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The Innocent Man - Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
by John Grisham
ISBN 0-385-51723-8
Published October 2006 - Hardcover - 360 pages - $28.95

John Grisham is one of my top five fiction writers, so it was wonderful to have been able to review his first work of non-fiction for these pages.  This book is about a promising young baseball player from a small town in Oklahoma who went to jail for a crime he didn't commit.  Hence the title of the book.  The scene is set in the town of Ada, where a young woman is brutally murdered, complete with potential suspects, and then moves swiftly on to the nightmare story of one Ron Williamson's life.  At nineteen he was playing baseball in the minors for Oakland, and it was around this time that he started drinking, carousing, and smoking pot - not a good athletic regimen you'd think he'd adhere to.  It was when he knew he wouldn't make it in the baseball world that his mood swings were noticed and, among other things, he was arrested for rape.  His life was spiralling out of control, fuelled by his manic depression.  The story traces his prison sentence, his treatment (and lack thereof) for his serious mental health issues, another murder, the rounding up of suspects, the tactics the police used to ilicit a confession, the incredible trials, the botched jobs by the police and the lawyers, and so much more.  This is a real page-turner with new twists around every corner.  The horror of being on death row, not for the right reasons, is too difficult to comprehend; hard even to imagine.  Visit Mr. Grisham's website.
Conclusion - A riveting account of how easily injustice can be applied.

book cover

Review copy not supplied by publisher - library copy reviewed.

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