Reviews for Innocent Man : Murder and Injustice in a Small Town

AudioFile Reviews 2007 February/March
John Grisham steps back from his tried-and-true courtroom dramas with this look at a real-life murder. Actor Craig Wasson narrates the story of ill-fated loser Ron Williamson, the man that a pair of small-town police detectives are convinced raped and murdered a young woman in 1982. Wasson is straightforward in his reading, seldom letting out the actor within. And like a newspaper reporter, Grisham uses a bare-bones factual approach that lacks the twists and turns of his novels. The listener will be outraged by the frailties of the criminal justice system portrayed, which is not as malleable as its fictitious counterparts, and more prone to error. Reality ain't pretty. M.S. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine

AudioFile Reviews 2007 June/July
Dennis Boutsikaris reads with an understated tone and careful pacing to capture the authentic experience of an innocent man who waits to be executed on death row. This true narrative depicts the mental torture and decline of Ron Williamson over several decades of incarceration. Williamson was accused and convicted of the rape and murder of 21-year-old Debra Sue Carter, based on junk science, ill-conceived motives, and the testimony of prisoners who had something to gain from false statements. Boutsikaris's portrayal of Williamson's frustration and horror as he screams for hours from his cell's confinement brings chills. This audiobook will shock--and make you doubt the criminal justice system. G.D.W. (c) AudioFile 2007, Portland, Maine

Library Journal Reviews 2006 August #1
(See Prepub Alert, LJ 6/1/06) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Publishers Weekly Reviews 2007 January #5

Grisham's first work of nonfiction focuses on the tragedy of Ron Williamson, a baseball hero from a small town in Oklahoma who winds up a dissolute, mentally unstable Major League washout railroaded onto death row for a hometown rape and murder he did not commit. Judging by this author-approved abridgment, Grisham has chosen to present Williamson's painful story (and that of his equally innocent "co-conspirator," Dennis Fritz) as straightforward journalism, eschewing the more familiar "nonfiction novel" approach with its reconstructed dialogues and other adjustments for dramatic purpose. This has resulted in a book that, while it includes such intriguing elements as murder, rape, detection and judicial injustice, consists primarily of objective reportage, albeit shaded by the now-proven fact of Williamson's innocence. The absence of dialogue or character point of view could make for a rather bland audio. Boutsikaris avoids that by reverting to what might be called old-fashioned round-the-campfire storytelling, treating the lengthy exposition to vocal interpretations, subtle and substantial. He narrates the events leading up to the 1982 rape and murder of a young cocktail waitress with a mixture of suspicion and curiosity, moving on to astonishment at the prosecution's use of deceit and false testimony to convict Williamson and Fritz and, eventually, elation at the exoneration of the two innocent men. Throughout, he maintains an appealing conversational tone, an effect made all the more remarkable by the book's nearly total absence of conversation. Simultaneous release with the Doubleday hardcover. (Nov.)

[Page 69]. Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.