Customer Reviews


23 Reviews
5 star:
 (10)
4 star:
 (8)
3 star:
 (3)
2 star:
 (2)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Innocents abroad
Normally one to stick with a current craze or bestseller such as "The Time Traveler's Wife," or McCrae's "Katzenjammer" I instead opted for Grisham's latest. This was a nice change of pace. Summoning upon his past successes, Grisham crafts a part thriller, part atmospheric literary classic, and part law firm book, throwing in some baseball and a host of believable and...
Published on Nov. 27 2006 by Cha-cha lady of Montreal

versus
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Justice Denied
This book cries out for a heartless editor's blue pencil. Mr. Grisham is a wonderful author, but I think he got so frustrated and infuriated by what he saw in the Williamson case that he wrote it as he felt it - not a journalistic attribute for what purports to be a journalistic exercise. Mr. Grisham takes his velvet-wrapped hammer and pounds us on the head with one...
Published on Jan. 30 2007 by David Brennan


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Innocents abroad, Nov. 27 2006
This review is from: The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town (Hardcover)
Normally one to stick with a current craze or bestseller such as "The Time Traveler's Wife," or McCrae's "Katzenjammer" I instead opted for Grisham's latest. This was a nice change of pace. Summoning upon his past successes, Grisham crafts a part thriller, part atmospheric literary classic, and part law firm book, throwing in some baseball and a host of believable and interesting characters. The end result is a fantastic read that I could recommend for those of all ages.

This is Grisham's first non fiction book, and I really didn't know what to expect. It is a true story, based on Ron Williamson's experiences, and it exposes the underbelly of crime, corruption, and police antics. In some ways a muckracking novel, the way Sinclair Lewis's books are.

Also recommended MIDDLESEX by Jeffrey Eugenides.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Described, March 3 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Kept their promise and very timely-will do business with you again It is nice that no misrepresentation or surprises were in store
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Cause for concern, Dec 4 2012
By 
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: The Innocent Man (Paperback)
Grisham's talent for writing legal thrillers serves the purpose of detailing the true story of Ron Williamson, a man wrongly accused for the death of a young woman in Ada, Oklahoma. This incredible story hinges on terrible police work, an incredibly blind-sighted (if not wrongly intended) prosecution, the repeated mistakes of a legal system that often seems to simply go through motions when it should be questioning itself, some integrity and the scientific and legal revelation that was DNA analysis. A harrowing story that will keep you turning pages well into the night.

Grisham mentions in several interviews that this was perhaps one of the more difficult books he has written simply because he needed to work much harder to check facts and verify information. As it deals with fairly recent events, the book has attracted quite a bit of media attention and the response of several prominent actors, namely the Ada District Attorney who has launched a self-published website to respond to some of the insinuations that are made about him and it is indeed plausible that in spite of Grisham's work, some of the information is presented in slanted ways. Nevertheless, I found myself puzzled and troubled by the potential errors of the legal system: How can the system get so wrapped up in itself to allow individuals who cannot be guilty to be sentenced to death? The book details some of the rubber stamping that goes on in the courts by the different courts and attorneys who refuse to question judgements made at other levels and makes the system look like a great monster that one is powerless to address properly. After reading this Grisham, you don't want to be falsely accused, you are grateful for DNA analysis, and you wonder how it too can be wrongly or poorly misused.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Disturbing and Remarkable. Grisham's Best Yet!, Oct. 4 2006
This review is from: The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town (Hardcover)
John Grisham has demonstrated once again why he is one of the greatest writers of our time in his courageous study of the American Legal System in this thrilling yet disturbing expose' titled 'The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town'. With great insight and a sharp direction to the blindness of injustice, Grisham portrays not just the life of two innocent men, Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz, both convicted of a crime they were not guilty of, but more importantly, the author demonstrates how our criminal justice system, though considered by many to be the best in the world, is filled with great fault and injustice due to the fact that the very same system we trust is at times run and operated by individuals who are not concerned with the truth but with self promoting record keeping . . . for some law enforcement - getting the arrest . . . for some prosecutors - getting a conviction. In directing his overall efforts at the discrepancy and faults of the U.S. criminal justice system, author Grisham is very clever in picking the heartbreaking stories of Mr. Williamson and Mr. Fritz since the small town politics and "cowboying" of law enforcement that unfortunately occurs from time to time is not immune to larger populated cities. Ada, Oklahoma, the town where Mr. Williamson and Mr. Fritz were tried allowed the author to put the local system under a careful microscope . . . and just like politics being local with a grander scheme, so too is this country's legal system.

In raising the benchmark by citing the horrendous case of former baseball star-in-waiting, Mr. Williamson, Grisham shows the beauty of the American dream: the pursuit of your dreams followed by the efforts in obtaining your goals followed by the inevitable fall from grace and the limited support of an unforgiving society at times keen on the blind eye of injustice. After his departure from Ada, Oklahoma to the major league baseball farm systems of the Oakland A's and the New York Yankees to peruse a potential big-league career, Mr. Williamson eventually returns home due to a career ending injury (a great statement made by Grisham to young athletes pursuing their dreams; get your education). Broken with shattered dreams, Williamson ignites himself by embarking on a world of self-destruction many former athletes are all too familiar with: drugs, booze, unemployment, etc. Soon after, Williamson along with his partying friend, Dennis Fritz, is arrested for the murder of a local waitress and are essentially railroaded with great urgency through the justice system: the local prosecutor and corrupt police officers not interested in finding out the truth. With precision, Grisham shows how a limited investigation by local police and prosecutors interested in furthering their own career by obtaining guilty convictions for both Williamson and Fritz. Williamson is order to be executed and Fritz ordered to spend his life in prison. The prosecutors were able to obtain the convictions despite no credible evidence. This is nothing new to our legal system. It darn well should be, though.

And so it goes in today's American legal system; too many innocent persons being found guilty of crimes they didn't commit and too many individuals are being coerced to take a plea for something they did not do in order to stop the insanity of prosecution . . . especially when the prosecutor's office has an unlimited amount of funding to make the charge, and the typically charged person has limited financial resources to defend themselves. I also want to point out Mr. Grisham rightfully makes it a point that the vast majority of those who work in the legal system are honest men and women trying to make a positive difference in the world. Not all players are self-egomaniacs: but their negligent influence on the system has deformed the very nature of 'blind justice'. Earlier today, and to my surprise and shock, I just read a fascinating story coming out of Chicago about two brothers, Brian Gaughan Jr. and Kevin Gaughan, who were being charged by local law enforcement with minor crimes of trespassing that were eventually turned into assault on a police officer. The facts appear that the two boys were victims of police brutality, as indicated by the fact the arresting police officers resigned from their job. ABC, CBS, and NBC news have all reported that the Gaughan brothers soon after their arrests filed a civil suit against the local Marengo, Illinois police and the State police of Illinois in juxtaposition with their ongoing and two year old legal battle defending their innocence. Once this happened, the State of Illinois police involvement in this small-town case elevated to mind-boggling levels, as both prosecutors from Illinois and the State Police of Illinois began to throw wave after wave of financially crippling motions and actions against the two young boys - and shockingly threatened the stand-up civil servant parents of the two boys: Brian Gaughan, Sr. (a well respected firefighter and local IAFF president working in Cook County, Illinois), and Carolyn Gaughan (a corrections officer working in McHenry County, Illinois) with criminal prosecution of their own unless the large and seemingly rightful lawsuit against the State of Illinois is dropped. In correlation to what Mr. Grisham has clearly written in 'The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town', the Gaughan brothers case and many others like it across this great nation scream out: Where is the accountability of out of control prosecutors and law enforcement officers? What system or controls can be put into effect to better serve those who have been victims of crimes (remembering that if an innocent man is convicted of a crime, then the guilty party is still at large)? What can, if anything, individuals facing tsunami like prosecution do in retrospect to a system set up more like a cattle ranch interested in getting the steer off the land and into a cage than seeking out full justice? Where is the accountability in a system so many individuals in society believe in and why is it that many citizens are freely willing to simply take as final truth what is reported by police or on in the news?

I applaud Mr. Grisham in his aim at the big picture that is the injustices of the American legal system and in taking aim at demonstrating how the system itself is in need of great reform and how without a more checks and balance system in place, there exists an all too much frequency for innocent men and women to be convicted of a crime regardless of their innocence. An interesting point by Grisham and one that I feel must be addressed, is how at times self-serving prosecutors use the financial inability of a criminally charged individual to plea to a conviction of a lesser charge in order to better serve their own prosecutorial record. In many ways, Grisham takes a giant swing at the machine that is the criminal justice system and the multi-billion dollar industry that has been created. Clearly, prosecuting crime in the U.S. has become a big business in this country, as opposed to much more needed efforts geared at rehabilitation and social re-entry. A second issue that Grisham brings out is how the use of DNA has changed the landscape of this country's prosecution of those who have been charged with a crime. With legal advocates such as lawyers Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld bringing out DNA oriented truth vehicles such as 'The Innocent Project', the issue of prosecutors using more purposefully and openly DNA is widely held as an important part of the investigation process for certain crimes.

'The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town' is more than a case study of the faults of the American legal system. This is a story of strength and perseverance. It is a skillfully crafted story written in Grisham's familiar southern style of the nature of the human soul and spirit. It is a story of right v. wrong and good v. evil. Mr. Grisham has outdone himself in this non-fiction story of the wonderment, pain, and most of all the fragileness of human life. An absolute must read . . . a must think . . . and critically, a call for dialogue to make a change for better accountability in the policing system we need to trust. The brotherhood and sisterhood of the men and women who wear a shield are made up of some of the finest individuals and leaders in our society. I am personally most grateful to many and have family members who work in different areas of law enforcement. What John Grisham has pointed out is that the limited actions of individuals not acting on their duty as members of the court can and will continue to jeopardize the legal system in the United States. It is up to both those who work in law enforcement and those who work independently outside of the system, including the press, to point to issues that can change the system for the better. Similar to what George Washington said the night of his first presidential inauguration on the steps of Federal Hall in New York City that `liberty is a great experiment entrusted to the American people', it is clear that the American justice system is a continual experiment continually evolving. It is up to the keen efforts of individuals working within and from outside the system to hold accountable this great experiment called liberty - which the criminal justice system is a part of. In John Grisham's The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town we have an extraordinary book by an extraordinary man who happens to write - and make us think a bit more.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4.0 out of 5 stars Another great Grisham novel, Oct. 22 2006
This review is from: The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town (Hardcover)
I wouldn't go as far as saying this is Grisham's best novel, but it is certainly one of his best. A very taut and gripping thriller that will keep you guessing from the start to the finish. A great read that I highly recommend. Also recommended is David DeMello's Dead Scare and James Patterson's Along Came a Spider.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars We get the point, Oct. 29 2006
By 
Amanda Richards (Georgetown, Guyana) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME)   
This review is from: The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town (Hardcover)
As I eagerly began reading Grisham's first non-fiction book, I recall saying to myself that he should write more of the same. The true story of Ron Williamson clearly needed to be told, if only to expose some of the "behind the scenes" and "under the table" actions of the police investigators, prosecutors, trial lawyers and prison system that process our suspected and convicted criminals and maintain law and order.

The book reveals real-life examples of guilt by association, conviction by circumstantial evidence, the ease with which corroborating witnesses can be obtained, the unreliability of certain types of forensic evidence (regardless of what Grissom does on CSI), and how innocent men (and women) sometimes find themselves languishing on death row (or are even executed) due to shoddy practices by those who are supposed to presume them innocent. It also offers insights into the disease of mental illness, and goes into depth about what happens if the illness is not diagnosed and the person given the correct treatment.

Grisham indicates that he could have written five hundred pages on this case, and though he certainly caught my interest, I'm thanking my lucky stars that he resisted the urge. The writers on CSI or Cold Case could easily wrap this story in an hour with commercial breaks, but not Mr. Grisham. He rambles on and on, repeating the same testimony and crazy behavior of Williamson, the endless sacrifice of his family, and stressing over and over the ineffectiveness and ineptitude of the police investigation. While he hammers home the issues of negligence, I would have hoped for a little balance, maybe giving a little credit here and there to the "good" officers of Ada who I'm sure continue to keep the peace, day after day, but as it is, it seems biased against law enforcement in general, and the local police in particular.

Grisham skillfully skirts around the rights and wrongs of the death penalty, but certainly makes a point for the need for rehabilitation of the judicial system in cases of mental incapacity, and compensation for wrongful conviction. His leading man starts off life as a talented but extremely spoiled child, and ends it through illness brought about by his own demons, and although his sad story will undoubtedly leave a nasty taste in your mouth after you've turned the last page, you'll be wishing that Grisham would be more like Grissom and cut straight to the chase.

Rated: 5 stars for the story and 2 for the tedious telling, averaging out to 3.5 stars overall.

Amanda Richards
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read, June 10 2014
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
Great book about how corrupt some people in law enforcement are. Too bad they weren't the ones put in jail sentenced to die!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A story that needs to be told, Jan. 28 2008
By 
Dan C. Hull (Ontario) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I'm currently reading The Innocent Man, about two thirds done, loving every page and feel compelled to comment. It's amusing at times, but more so frustrating and upsetting to see how the main character was treated by the police, the judges, lawyers and jury. Yes I agree the book is a little slanted against the police, but it has every right to be. Ron Williamson had his problems, but no one deserved to be treated as he was, and I commend John Grisham for shedding light on his story. Great book.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Justice Denied, Jan. 30 2007
By 
David Brennan (Brampton, Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town (Hardcover)
This book cries out for a heartless editor's blue pencil. Mr. Grisham is a wonderful author, but I think he got so frustrated and infuriated by what he saw in the Williamson case that he wrote it as he felt it - not a journalistic attribute for what purports to be a journalistic exercise. Mr. Grisham takes his velvet-wrapped hammer and pounds us on the head with one example after another of legal boondogglery, skulduggery and plain old railroading - the point was very clear after 50 pages, but he felt we needed more. I have some questions, though, concerniing the prosecution in the trials Mr. Grisham wrote about. The DA is still in office in Ada, OK, in spite of what amounts to repeated and outright acts of deception before the court - how come? Why were the police officers involved not charged with perjury? Why were some of those witnesses not charged with perjury? Why are the first two judges in the case still allowed to practice after such obvious and prejudiced conduct of the trial - e.g. allowing the former police chief to sit on the jury???? How can there be justice with no truth? And how could the citizens of Ada allow themselves to be so badly duped? Terrible story, told well if a little too heavily.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars too much for a book, April 27 2008
By 
Kaes Ali (Toronto-Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Well, this story we all agree is terrible, a young man who had a single dream, failed to achieve it, and collapsed and found himself in the center of a crime he didn't commit, in a utopia were fairness is the rule it shouldn't happen, certainly the character has suffered a lot, and the book faithfully exposes the legal system in that area to an unprecedented degree, it shows how the truth can and in many times is twisted, it has happened before and keeps happening again and on a wider scale internationally as well!

It is great to have a dream to pursue, but we must face the fact and move on when we can't achieve that dream sometimes, such attitude requires a balanced strong person, a thing our main character clearly lacked.

Don't get me wrong, when a person with such a difficult personality lives such a load life style, where a good time of the day and night for all it matters is spent in the places the main character used to hang out in, with such habits as mentioned in the book and in details, well you are bound to get into a lot of trouble and it will be more and more difficult for people to help you, especially if one keeps behaving in the way described, if one keeps scaring friends away. Why was this guy out of hundreds chosen for the crime?, yes the guys in the police department were certainly not the best, but with all the issues the main character had and kept having time and time again, he became an irresistible bait.

I think the story is certainly worth telling, and every one of us will extract different lessons, it is probably not as much worth being published, but probably being presented on a TV show like 60min. I sometimes found it hard to sympathize with the main character, or to be surprised with the mishaps he faced. I was however shocked from the profound legal misconduct which was made easy by the main character himself.

We do have a big role in creating our own luck and fortune, and our guy here was asking for trouble in many times, he went into a vicious down hill spiral with more problems hitting him, and with the personality issues that were surfacing with time, and with such a fragmented heath care and such a corrupted police department it was just inevitable to end up in this situation.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town
The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town by John Grisham (Hardcover - Oct. 10 2006)
CDN$ 35.95 CDN$ 22.53
Usually ships in 2 to 3 weeks
Add to cart Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews