Ghost of the Innocent Man by Benjamin Rachlin
A True Story of Trial and Redemption

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 2 Critic Reviews

Read Rachlin's Ghost of the Innocent Man to follow the twisted path that led Chris Mumma to pick up Grimes' file, ultimately exposing the use of outdated photos to mis-identify the perpetrator...
-NPR

Synopsis

During the last two decades, more than two thousand American citizens have been wrongfully convicted. Ghost of the Innocent Man brings us one of the most dramatic of those cases and provides the clearest picture yet of the national scourge of wrongful conviction and of the opportunity for meaningful reform.

When the final gavel clapped in a rural southern courtroom in the summer of 1988, Willie J. Grimes, a gentle spirit with no record of violence, was shocked and devastated to be convicted of first-degree rape and sentenced to life imprisonment. Here is the story of this everyman and his extraordinary quarter-century-long journey to freedom, told in breathtaking and sympathetic detail, from the botched evidence and suspect testimony that led to his incarceration to the tireless efforts to prove his innocence and the identity of the true perpetrator. These were spearheaded by his relentless champion, Christine Mumma, a cofounder of North Carolina's Innocence Inquiry Commission. That commission-unprecedented at its inception in 2006-remains a model organization unlike any other in the country, and one now responsible for a growing number of exonerations.

With meticulous, prismatic research and pulse-quickening prose, Benjamin Rachlin presents one man's tragedy and triumph. The jarring and unsettling truth is that the story of Willie J. Grimes, for all its outrage, dignity, and grace, is not a unique travesty. But through the harrowing and suspenseful account of one life, told from the inside, we experience the full horror of wrongful conviction on a national scale. Ghost of the Innocent Man is both rare and essential, a masterwork of empathy. The book offers a profound reckoning not only with the shortcomings of our criminal justice system but also with its possibilities for redemption.

 

About Benjamin Rachlin

See more books from this Author
Benjamin Rachlin grew up in New Hampshire. He studied English at Bowdoin College, where he won the Sinkinson Prize, and writing at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he won Schwartz and Brauer fellowships. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in the New York Times Magazine, TIME, and the Virginia Quarterly Review. He lives near Boston. Ghost of the Innocent Man is his first book.
 
Published August 15, 2017 by Little, Brown and Company. 379 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Political & Social Sciences, Law & Philosophy, Business & Economics. Non-fiction
Add Critic Review

Critic reviews for Ghost of the Innocent Man
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Kirkus

Above average
on May 31 2017

Rachlin builds to this cinematic conclusion with empathetic, thorough (if sometimes gradually paced) prose and solid investigative detail. A sprawling, powerful, unsettling longitudinal account of an overdue legal movement.

Read Full Review of Ghost of the Innocent Man: A ... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NPR

Good
Reviewed by MARTHA ANNE TOLL on Aug 13 2017

Read Rachlin's Ghost of the Innocent Man to follow the twisted path that led Chris Mumma to pick up Grimes' file, ultimately exposing the use of outdated photos to mis-identify the perpetrator...

Read Full Review of Ghost of the Innocent Man: A ... | See more reviews from NPR

Rate this book!

Add Review
×