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Richard North Patterson, who has transcended the legal-thriller genre a few books ago has created a novel which explains how the appeals process in death penalty cases has become a stylized dance of arbitrary rules where political expediency trumps justice, fairness and truth. In telling the story of a last minute appeal of a retarded, and probably innocent man facing execution we are taken step by step through a grinding, mindnumbing and depressing process which exposes, in explicit terms, some very troubling truths about the death penalty today.
Patterson, in using a fictional case, has made a baroque and irrational system accessible to those open to be challenged on their assumptions about "activist courts" "coddled criminals" and other cleverly framed phrases which cloud the truth about a justice system which metes out the ultimate punishment without much concern for guilt or innocence.
This is not a fun book. However, it is an important book for those who truly want to understand an important issue, and how it defines us as a people. And Patterson does provide an excellent road map, for those with the courage and character, to proceed down that road.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
This book started well, but quickly became mired in an overly extended journey through the justice system, which was interesting to start, but quickly became monotonous and added very little to the book. To my mind, the story could have been told in half the time / pages. I many times debated just not finishing it.
12 of 14 people found this review helpful