The Innocent Man

  • by John Grisham
  • Narrated by Craig Wasson
  • 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

John Grisham's first work of nonfiction, an exploration of small town justice gone terribly awry, is his most extraordinary legal thriller yet. In the Major League draft of 1971, the first player chosen from the state of Oklahoma was Ron Williamson. When he signed with the Oakland A's, he said goodbye to his hometown of Ada and left to pursue his dreams of big league glory. Six years later he was back, his dreams broken by a bad arm and bad habits: drinking, drugs, and women. He began to show signs of mental illness. Unable to keep a job, he moved in with his mother and slept 20 hours a day on her sofa. In 1982, a 21-year-old cocktail waitress in Ada named Debra Sue Carter was raped and murdered, and for five years the police could not solve the crime. For reasons that were never clear, they suspected Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz. The two were finally arrested in 1987 and charged with capital murder. With no physical evidence, the prosecution's case was built on junk science and the testimony of jailhouse snitches and convicts. Dennis Fritz was found guilty and given a life sentence. Ron Williamson was sent to death row. If you believe that in America you are innocent until proven guilty, this book will shock you. If you believe in the death penalty, this book will disturb you. If you believe the criminal justice system is fair, this book will infuriate you.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Sorry John...

Count me in as one of the millions of worldwide fans of John Grisham. Like my fellow readers, I wait with great anticipation for his next book. I love his conversational writing. I can picture every scene as he describes them. He may be the best legal thriller writer of our day.
When I heard of "The Innocent Man", I was delighted. When I downloaded and listened, I was very, very disappointed. The book turns out to be a rehash of a previous book by another author and the subject of a PBS "Frontline' piece in 2002 about a wrongly convicted man..
The book is a narration of transcripts and court testimony from the trial. There is little to no dialog. There is no character development or interaction. There is no plot.
John's author notes at the end of the audio address some of these issues. The problem is that we should have been able to have read these notes before purchase.
"Frontline" told the story in one hour while Grisham chose to stretch it out over several hours. It is simply boring testimony.

But, fear not, I will still wait in anticipation for John's next book. I just hope he stays away from real crime and court testimony and goes back to his "paint a portrait" fiction.
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- Gil Gilbert

Wake up people...

I am stunned by the reviews that find this book uninteresting and/or poorly written. It was difficult to read because it is the story of our wonderful American justice system at its absolute worst. It is also the story of a couple of dozen Americans who allow their prejudices to prosecute and convict two men for murder with absolutely zero evidence. A man in Columbus was recently jailed for eighteen months and tried for the murder of his twin brother with the same 'evidence', none whatsoever. This can happen to anyone. If you aren't interested in this problem then you need to pray that you are never mistaken for a suspect and end up on death row.
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- Michael H. Wagner "Grandpa"

Book Details

  • Release Date: 09-18-2006
  • Publisher: Random House Audio