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Chasing Justice: My Story of Freeing Myself After Two Decades on Death Row for a Crime I Didn't Commit Paperback – Bargain Price, March 11, 2008

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (March 11, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060574658
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060574659
  • ASIN: B002QGSXX2
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.9 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,230,291 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

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)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


Chasing Justice 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 )

Chasing Justice 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. (Publishers Weekly )

“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 )

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 31 customer reviews
Worth the time to read this man's story.
Kristina Perschka
It is a face-paced read that will keep you turning the pages, one that will haunt you and make you want to live each day of your own freedom to the fullest.
Necmiye Eren
Kerry Max's remarkable story is a damning indictment of the death penalty and the Texas justice system.
Jessica Lux

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Vikki Shaw on March 16, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
because you won't be a believer for long.

Kerry Max Cook tells us exactly how it is to be on death row in this country. He paints the picture of being wrongly convicted that chills one to the very core of their being.

If your pro death penalty... you won't be so sure of that belief after reading this.

One has to give this man KUDOS for enduring a 20+ year nightmare. As well as the attorney's that stuck by his side and believed in him and worked pro bono. It takes a hell of a belief system to get through what this man survived.

I recommend this book to everyone, pro or anti death penalty. It is very educational on our justice system, prosecutor misconduct, judges who are blind to "real justice" & Investigators who will stop at nothing to gain a conviction.

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Brian D. Paterson on February 27, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is a must have book and one that you will recommend over and over. From the prologue you will be hooked. Kerry must be the only person on this earth who could have survived the torment he was faced with. All along Kerry never gave up. I now see that the seemingly insurmountable problems that 99.99% of us are faced with are so ridiculous to be considered impossible. May God be with you Kerry and may this book find its way into the leaders of the TX legal system and bring about the rest and restitution you deserve.

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By D. Weinstein on March 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This was a really well written first person account of Kerry Cook's story. He endured years of unbelieveable abuse by Law enforcement, correctional and Judicial authorities, and he recalled every detail with clarity. While it was depressing at times and heartbreaking, it gave great insight into the complete isolation spent during his long period spent on death row. It also shed light on the gross lack of ethics and lies that were colluded the unscrupulous Texas D.A. Judges, Law enforcement, etc. At times I was engrossed and absorbed, often moved by his ability to triumph what would have destroyed any normal man. Its a great read, and will change perception on the death penalty and even the legal system.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Lux on January 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Kerry Max Cook met young Linda Edwards in 1977 and was invited back to her apartment for a drink, where he left his fingerprints on the sliding glass door. Four days later, Ms. Edwards was found brutally murdered, and Cook was immediately arrested for the crime. In one of the worst examples of police and prosecutorial misconduct in American history, Kerry Max was put to trial with coached prosecutorial witnesses, bunk expert testimony about the "age" (six to twelve hours) of the fingerprint, and suppressed evidence that would have favored the defense. The state declared that Kerry Max was a repressed homosexual (at a time when homosexuality was a mental illness, and in rural Texas, no less) who raped and butchered a female out of repressed rage - a theory, incredibly, they stuck to even during re-trials two decades later, in the 1990's!

Chasing Justice is the story of the framing of Kerry Max by the Texas justice system. The narrative was written in Kerry's own hand (1,200 pages at first draft) and condensed into a powerfully personal 350-page account of life on death row - desperation, abandonment, rape and sodomy, stabbings, and attempted suicide. The prose isn't depressing; rather, Kerry Max just fights on, always waiting for the next turn, building his cadre of supporters. Texas death row has been ruled in federal court to constitute cruel and unusual punishment. Kerry Max fought for a full two decades for his freedom, through three outrageous trials, with not a penny to his name. While the major Dallas newspaper was decrying the railroading of an innocent man, he was convicted again and again and again.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Jim Sommers on March 15, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Having just finished reading Chasing Justice I probably should be waiting a few days - or even months - to calm down a bit, but I'm finding that impossible. The anger I feel, not only for what the author somehow managed to endure for over 20 years, but how little has been done by the people of Texas to rid themselves of the continuing menace that infects their legal system makes me wonder what kind of a people we are, to continually put our heads in the sand, ignoring the continuing abuses perpetrated by the police, prosecutors, judges and politicians that are supposed to be serving us.

In one of Cook's final chapters he tells us what most of the main participants are doing today. Aside from a few that have died or retired, all police, prosecutors and judges are still doling out Texas-style justice. The person who all of the legitimate evidence points to as the real murderer is still free. Of course all of the residents of Death Row who were there with Cook have been executed. I realize that this thirst for blood is not just peculiar to Texas - much the rest of our nation isn't that much better - but one would think that if we're going to be handing out the ultimate punishment so frequently, even though it doesn't accomplish anything other than satisfying a savage hunger for revenge, it might be wise to make sure that we get it right and make sure that the innocent don't get flushed down with the guilty. One also has to wonder how the family of the murdered girl managed to go along with the charade all of this time, knowing full well that the wrong man was being persecuted.

It's also interesting that who should make an appearance in this Kafka-like saga other than George W. Bush himself.
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