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The guilty verdicts handed out to three Arkansas teens in a horrific capital murder case were popular in their home state - even upheld on appeal. But after two HBO documentaries called attention to the witch-hunt atmosphere at the trials, artists and other supporters raised concerns about the accompanying lack of evidence. Now, award-winning journalist Mara Leveritt provides the most comprehensive look yet into this endlessly shocking case.
For weeks in 1993, after the murders of three eight-year-old boys, police in West Memphis, Arkansas, seemed stymied. Then suddenly detectives charged three teenagers - alleged members of a satanic cult - with the killings. Despite stunning investigative blunders, a confession riddled with errors, and an absence of physical evidence linking any of the accused to the crime, the teenagers were tried and convicted. Jurors sentenced Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley to life in prison. They sentenced Damien Echols, the accused ringleader, to death. Ten years later, all three remain in prison. Here, Leveritt unravels this seemingly medieval case and offers close-up views of its key participants - including one with an uncanny knack for evading the law.
Mara Leveritt has won several awards for investigative journalism, including Arkansas’s Booker Worthen Prize for her book The Boys on the Tracks. A contributing editor to the Arkansas Times, she lives in Little Rock.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By veruka. on 09-15-12
Justice's devil's knot
Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?
Yes, this book should be read by everyone to understand how arbitrary at best and corrupt at worst our criminal judicial system is. It was eye opening to see how far the prosecutors went to convict their chosen parties and to be right and how a case can be built from the top down.
What other book might you compare Devil’s Knot to and why?
I can not think of one I have heard that I would compare this book to. But I am certain the legal system is ripe with similar tales of corruption and lies.
What three words best describe Lorna Raver’s voice?
That wouldn't be nice.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
When the young men would not turn on the other boys in order to gain their freedom. They had more integrity than the educated idiots prosecuting them! Shows how intelligence does not correlate with character!
Any additional comments?
Listen to this book and you will know that justice is ofttimes a four letter word! Also, narrator voice is better suited for sing songy books of love and poetry not for a book so powerful.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By La Becket on 12-05-12
What disappointed you about Devil’s Knot?
Having greatly enjoyed, and been strongly affected by, all 3 HBO documentaries about this disturbing case, I was expecting the book to shed new light. Instead, it largely recapitulates what we already now from the documentaries (perhaps inevitable, since together they span 9+ hours), and trots out the same kind of baseless speculation and nearly libellous "maybe X did it," or "maybe Y did it," kinds of claims, without offering any compelling evidence for those accusations. I would watch the movies rather than read this book -- they're much more illuminating.
Final footnote: the performance left a great deal to be desired. Why do female narrators so often feel compelled to deepen their voices in a patently ridiculous fashion whenever a man is talking? (Given the fact that virtually everyone in this book is male, this is a *big* liability).
Also: I'm not entirely sure why the narrator also felt the need to do extremely unconvincing Arkansas accents for every single player in this story -- virtually all of whom are from Arkansas. Either find a narrator with an appropriate accent, or JUST READ NORMALLY. I beg you.
14 of 17 people found this review helpful