From Publishers Weekly
Despite some amateurish prose, this depressing account of an unfair criminal justice system that almost claimed the author's life deserves a wide readership alongside John Grisham's The Innocent Man
. After being arrested in 1977 for a brutal mutilation murder in Tyler, Tex., that he did not commit, Cook, then 21 years old, was repeatedly railroaded by corrupt police officers, prosecutors and judges bent on ignoring all the rules to get him convicted. After his first trial, Cook ended up on death row and underwent a hellish ordeal behind bars; two subsequent trials ended in a mistrial and another conviction and death sentence. The subtitle notwithstanding, Cook's eventual freedom was largely due to a team of dedicated attorneys, working from the Capital Punishment Project or pro bono, who fought tooth-and-nail to obtain his freedom in the late 1990s. Readers familiar with similar travesties, such as the Randall Dale Adams case chronicled in Errol Morris's documentary The Thin Blue Line,
will be outraged anew, especially at the authorities' deliberate disregard of another suspect, linked to the crime by an eyewitness and DNA evidence. (Feb. 27)
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is an immensely compelling story that is hard to believe. If it were fiction, no one would believe it. But it’s not, and Kerry Cook’s account of his nightmare is fascinating.” (John Grisham)
is captivating...It is going to break through political barriers and be a catalyst for reform. (Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking
“The incredible story of this enforced visit to hell and back is a modern day version of Dante and Kafka.” (Alan Dershowitz, Harvard Law School)
“I dare you to read this book. . . An inspiring human being.” (Richard Dreyfuss)
“A brutal but compelling account. . . . Amazing.” (William S. Sessions, former FBI Director and federal judge)
“Deserves a wide readership alongside John Grisham’s The Innocent Man.
“An inmate’s harrowing first-person account of a travesty of Texas jurisprudence.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“Kafka-esque...That he survived is astounding; the circumstances that finally freed him...are nearly miraculous.” (Texas Monthly)
“Cook’s story is so gripping that only a heart of steel won’t break after reading it.” (People)