Overview (Spoilers to Follow):
Of all the many, many books I’ve read, this is my first John Grisham book, and surprisingly it isn’t even based in the fiction genre. Last week, I found myself in the unusual situation of having no audiobooks waiting in the queue, so while perusing the available titles I stumbled across The Innocent Man and instantly became intrigued. Years ago, Luke and I had became caught up in both Serial podcast and the Netflix documentary, Making a Murderer. As The Innocent Man is another true life account of a murder investigation and its fall out I knew I’d be interested in this read. Grisham wrote this book in 2006, a bit early to the stage before the pop culture fascination with the aforementioned shows. Seeing a resurgence of attention, there was a documentary released in December on Netflix covering the subject matter of this book and sharing its namesake that I’m looking forward to watching post read. That being said, The Innocent Man was a heartbreaking story on so many levels, from the victims and the wrongly accused to the families of both parties. Very little of this book could be described as happy, however worth a read due to the thought provoking nature of the material. While the sentences of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz eventually were overturned, I was left wondering about Tommy Ward who had an eerily similar trial and outcome as the previous duo. In the epilogue, John Grisham mentions that Ward is still in jail, with his appeals having led to dead ends. I’m curious if the Netflix documentary goes into his case in further detail. I could easily go into specifics regarding key oversights or bias in the trials however I’ll let you experience those frustrations yourself. Overall, The Innocent Man stirs the same emotions and sense of injustice stoked by other popular accounts, however has the clarity and closure regarding the outcome of the cases that the previous trendy shows lack.