Friday, April 5, 2019

BOOK REVIEW: Confessions of an Innocent Man by David R. Dow

This review first appeared in Library Journal and is published here with permission. 

In Confessions of an Innocent Man, David Dow’s debut novel (following memoir Things I’ve Learned from Dying), restaurateur Rafael Zhettah falls in love with an older, wealthy philanthropist. A year after their marriage, she is violently murdered. Despite an alibi and circumstantial evidence, Rafael is convicted, sentenced to death, and spends over six years on death row before evidence withheld by a detective is discovered and exonerates him. Unlike many who have been wrongfully convicted, Rafael’s gratitude is mitigated by a need for retribution, and he quickly begins to seek it. 

The novel explores wrongful convictions, the death penalty and appeals process, life on death row, and exoneration. It is about duplicity--the honest and hardworking man becoming a criminal only after a wrongful conviction; a legal system that seems too often to pit police, prosecutors, and judges against the truth. And includes an ingenious, well planned, and perfectly executed revenge. 

VERDICT: A fast-paced legal thriller that powerfully captures love, surrender, despair, and retribution that will appeal to fans of Phillip Margolin and George Pelecanos, and pair nicely with memoir The Sun Does Shine by Anthony Ray Hinton.

Dow, David R. Confessions of an Innocent Man, Dutton, April 9, 2019. ISBN 978-1524743888

A copy of Confessions of an Innocent Man was provided by the publisher via Library Journal. No compensation was provided for this review. 

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