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Reviews > Books >

The Innocent Man

Murder and Injustice in a Small Town

By John Grisham

Sometimes one comes across an author so good that it is said one would read his shopping lists. Well, I think I'll stop saying that now. John Grisham cerainly fits that category, but The Innocent Man, his first nonfiction work cerainly isn't such an enjoyable read.

While Grisham's fictional works may certainly have a campaigning axe to grind, exposing nefarious legal practices, they are basically top-notch thrillers where an entertaing story comes first. So compared to your typical Grisham thriller, this isn't so good, but that's not what we should be comparing it with; this is a great piece of journalism, pulling together years of events during which a number of innocent men, and in particular one Ron Williamson end up screwed and framed, incarcerated, some on death row, for crimes they did not commit.

The Innocent Man is an expose of a justice system gone bad, where lazy and prejudiced cops and prosecutors think way inside their lunchbox, their minds made up way before considering evidence objectively. Our hero Ron is a broken baseball star who never quite made it; through flashback and the present, we follow his falls into alcoholism and mental illness. Obviously the perfect fall guy for incompetent and corrupt donut-munchers.

There are few a few minor heroes in this story, but mostly we just meet victims, bad guys, damaged guys and survivors. some of the strongest characters are Ron's mother and sister.

It's an great and important book which will hopefully be instrumental in the reform of a rotten system.