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Book Beat: The Innocent Man

Book Beat: The Innocent Man



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I am one of those readers who reads everything John Grisham writes. He hooked me with The Firm and I've been unquestioning ever since. It was in that spirit that I picked up The Innocent Man. Sounds like a Grisham thriller, right?

Wrong. This is not a thriller. This is not a page turner. This is not fiction. It is the non-fiction account of a man named Ron Williamson who dreamed, like so many American boys (including John Grisham), of making it in the big leagues. Williamson wound up making it onto Death Row for a crime he didn't commit.

Grisham read Williamson's obituary in the New York Times and was hooked. It was all too horrible to be believed. How could a mentally ill man spend the majority of his life behind bars when there was evidence that pointed persuasively to another killer? Grisham began interviewing family members and this journalistic work was born.

It does read like a newspaper article. That is the one problem I should warn you about. It's not written in the "In Cold Blood" style of true crime fiction. It is written like a who-what-where-when-how piece of journalism, and as such can be repetitive and dry. This is not a book for the thrill seeker. It is a thoughtful and detailed piece of work that will leave you thinking. I do recommend it, so long as you know it's not like the other Grisham's you've read. A thumb's up for the serious reader for The Innocent Man by John Grisham. On the Book Beat for KSL Newsradio, I'm Amanda Dickson.

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