- Mass Market Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Dell; Reissue edition (March 27, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345532015
- ISBN-13: 978-0345532015
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 7.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Customer Reviews: 2,613 customer ratings
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #13,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town Mass Market Paperback – March 27, 2012
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Frequently bought together
“Grisham has written both an American tragedy and his strongest legal thriller yet, all the more gripping because it happens to be true.”—Entertainment Weekly
“Grisham has crafted a legal thriller every bit as suspenseful and fast-paced as his bestselling fiction.”—The Boston Globe
“A gritty, harrowing true-crime story.”—Time
“A triumph.”—The Seattle Times
About the Author
John Grisham is the author of twenty-eight novels, one work of nonfiction, a collection of stories, and six novels for young readers.
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This is a horrific tale of wilful miscarriage of justice and the mental destruction of Ron Williamson. Grisham's deeply researched book lays bare the travesties of justice, life in death row and mental illness.
Can this happen again, the sad answer is, most likely.
Top international reviews
This book from what I remember is a completely different style from those earlier books! I found it fairly slow going at first and almost gave up (glad I didn't) as we follow the story of college sports star Ron Williamson in his pursuit of sporting glory, drinking, drugs & women.
The story starts to gather pace & becomes a page turner when a local cocktail waitress is raped & murdered. After 5 years of dead ends, the police have no leads and are intent on bringing someone/anyone to justice. Despite no physical evidence the police arrest and charge Ron Williamson with murder and set about making a case against him at trial and sending to death row.
It is while Ron Williamson is on death row you really get to feel the anguish & torment he goes through as he awaits the lethal injection. Throughout his time in prison he protests his innocents, yet no one listens as the Oklahoma justice system have their man, however crude their efforts were of "framing" him. I equally found sorrow for Ron, once justice prevailed & he was acquitted of all charges and he returned to his home town of Ada, where most including the church turned there back on poor Ron Williamson who had suffered years of injustice at the hands of corrupt police investigations, the prosecution, witnesses testimonies, evidence and even failed by his own lawyers. Finally he receives little in the way of an apology for his years living in "hell".
This book was heavy going in parts but nevertheless I think it is an important book as it does show the way in which ordinary people can not only be let down by the American legal system but to be so poorly represented as to be near unbelievable with maybe the death sentence as a result.
The book was not necessarily about race as various races suffered equally at the hands of overzealous prosecutors, poor defenders, inadequate judges and stooge witnesses who would say anything for a reduced sentence.
Well worthwhile reading and a credit to Mr Grisham for writing it.
The writing is excellent - I couldn’t put it down.
The book is not light reading. In fact it's often rather heavy. It gives an unedifying picture of American justice, too. But the author obviously felt the need to write this book, and he was right to do so.
Indeed, it makes you question the justice system in the US and how the police can invent a case against someone they believe to be guilty of murder. Even more incredible is that a judge and jury were deceived as well.
This is an excellent read that is also factually correct. John Grisham at his best!
It is the fascinating story of five wrongful convictions; of the five, after many years three were exonerated and released (one of them got to within six days of being executed) and the other two, if not dead, are probably still in prison.
Great writing by Mr Grisham - steady, clear, well paced and really drew me in.
A terrifying indictment of American justice and how some police and prosecutors work - look at the crime, ignore the evidence, decide who is guilty, look for evidence to support their guilt and, if there isn't any, manufacture it.
It is also an indictment of the American system of the local judiciary being elected and, thus, subject to the pressure of local public opinion.
I have always been a bit ambivalent about capital punishment but maybe inclined in favour of it; reading this has made me think seriously about it, recognising that you cannot justify having capital punishment sitting on top of a legal system which is rotten at its core.
A difficult but thought provoking and rewarding read.
Ron Williamson, the convicted man, is not a nice man and has done everything he can, throughout his life, to turn people against him. This book then looks at the challenge that faces the US justice system to try him fairly and consider that he might be innocent despite his bad character and prejudice surrounding him.
JG has a wonderful easy writing style and uses it here to put some sense into the confused life that Ron has lived. At the beginning of the book the number of characters is overwhelming but it does settle down as the story progresses.
It's too easy to say that the police were lazy with this case as you need to look at all the factors around. This is the story of a man who was seriously let down by the system and specific individuals in it who were more convinced by gut than evidence.
My only gripe is that halfway through the book there are a batch of photos - great photos but they do give away a lot of the story which is yet to be revealed in the text - bit of a plot spoiler!!
This story is one that JG has not made up but it is easy to see why he was attracted to it. It does get over complicated at times but is an important lesson to the justice system.
The reader is compelled to feel outrage at the gross injustice of the naked corruption in the judicial system of this Oklahoman county in the 80s.
A compelling and rewarding read that will not disappoint the Grisham fan.
How on earth was this ever allowed to happen? I'd like to think that it couldn't in the UK but somehow I'm not that sure. Of course, the one saving grace here is that there is no death penalty.
One thing I did get out of the book: If I am ever arrested for anything I am making absolutely no comment until a lawyer is present. May make me sound like I am paranoid (perhaps I am) but after reading this book I challenge you not to think the same way. And this is from somebody who, on the whole, think that the Police and our criminal law system do a good job under very difficult circumstances.
A great read and real credit to John Grisham for writing about this issue. It would have been so easy for him to have just churned out another fictional novel which may have sold more copies than this non fiction work.