Seven years ago, Winston Melton was on top of the world: a privileged kid fresh off his first semester at Princeton. Life was perfect - until he was accused of the rape and murder of an ex-girlfriend. Years after his conviction, another death-row inmate has come forward with an 11th-hour confession, casting Win's conviction in a new light. But with the ink drying on his death sentence, time is running short.
Win's grandmother, the family matriarch, has her eyes set on one of the Help Innocent Prisoners Project's defense lawyers: Dani Trumball, and her reputation for results, no matter the cost. Dani, concerned she is being bought, initially refuses but eventually takes the case.
Soon, Dani can sense that something's off, both with Win's conviction and the new confession. But seven years after the incident, is there still a chance of uncovering the truth?
©2015 Marti Green (P)2015 Brilliance Audio, all rights reserved.
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"See spot run of legal "thrillers""
Knowledge of actual legal procedure. Believable characters.
Don't know yet
Really bad. I think the author saw an episode of law and order and decided to write the most cliche, one dimensional characters she could muster who happened to work in a law firm. All legal proceedings are very superficial, and who knew death row takes 6 months from verdict to fry? (It doesn't) I usually learn something about the law from these kinds of books. Not here. I only paid 2.95 for it and I won't have to bother with the rest of the series.
It actually started vanilla then in the second half it was as entertaining as sticking an ice pick in one's ear.
You give the author liberties because its fiction of course but when the liberties become as realistic as Wile E. Coyote running off a cliff and remaining in mid air for a couple of seconds, the liberties become ridiculous. Then every time there is a flaw it is magnified.
The story is unrealistic and the depth of the characters is...well there is no depth.
If I were to guess the author is an English Grammar teacher or a reporter for a newspaper who has lived in a sheltered environment. It reads as a report in a lot of ways. Repetitive in many areas.
The "twist" was no twist at all. I was listening half hearted and had it figured out.
This is a feel good waste of hours in a person's life to read this. Thanks to Audible and its high speed reading option or I would have never suffered through this.
A word on the narrator: maybe it's what she had to work with but this was a mediocre performance at best. Kudos to her for finishing. If it were me I would have called in with laryngitis, flu, drug addiction or prison sentence to keep from associating my name with this "novel".
"Reads like a comic book"
I stood it for about 20 minutes before deciding it wasn't going to get any better. Shallow characters, contrived plot, lack of actionable motives, and maybe I just don't like picking up a murder mystery and finding out it's really about a bunch of unlikable people scrabbling over money. Could it be that it just got off to a bad start? But no, the narrator just doesn't seem right for this subject matter, and that's going to last for the whole book.
"Fails, even as a YA mystery. Terrible storyline."
I had heard of the "Innocence Project" and admire their work, so I was attracted to a book based on an organization called the "Innocent Prisoners Project." The protagonist is a idealistic defense attorney who has chosen to work for this organization, despite the relatively low pay and limited resources. Nevertheless, as I listened to this book, I kept wondering why it was generally rated so highly. For a while, I thought it must be targeting young adults, but, as the story became more and more contrived, even that notion had to be abandoned. You don't have to be an attorney to see the obvious loopholes in the plot and in Dani's behavior. She didn't ask her client whether he had ever been accused of a crime previously. She didn't act on information about the prosecutor's conflict of interest. She didn't ask her investigator to follow up when she should have.
Her summation to the jury in defense of Win is one of the weakest I've ever heard. The jury doesn't need to decide that the defendant is innocent; they only need to have "reasonable doubt" about his guilt, which Dani never even mentioned. I know that the author was an attorney, but that makes these loopholes even more astonishing.
As literature, this is truly mediocre; the point of view changes whenever it is convenient for the author to share the thoughts of a character. Although disappointed by the writing, I am sympathetic to the theme. Maybe that's why others give her books a pass, but I'm certainly not motivated to read any other books in this series. Too bad; the concept is a good one, but the execution is weak.
I love the "legal fiction" genre so I was predisposed to like this book. Unfortunately, I also value good writing, good character development, a good plot and, in the case of an audio book, good narration. Thus, this book fails on all those fronts... and it isn't even particularly good legal fiction.
The plot is merely OK, although it strains my credulity almost to breaking in a few places. The writing is sophomoric.
The writing is uninteresting and author does much too much "telling" and not nearly enough "showing" which is classically amateurish. Instead of building situations (for example) that allow us to learn the characters' motives, concerns and decisions, she gets inside of their heads so we can "hear" them think. I found it trite and ... well... sophomoric. Also boring.
The narration is pretty awful. She has a small variety of voices and all of them are nasally. I found her narration distracting.
I bought it on sale and have decided to return it.
Although I purchased this book on sale, I was still hoping for more, including some additional character development and more of a plot. Story was not at all suspenseful, and in fact, took a long time for me to finish, probably because I was not in the least emotionally invested. With regard to narration, T.E. did an OK job with the female characters (win's mom and grandmother) but was pretty awful when performing the male characters such as Win, his close friend, and the investigator. I would recommend skipping this book, especially since there are plenty of other intriguing ones out there.
"Decent story, poor writing"
This is the third book in a series, but it could just as easily be the first, since all the characters are fairly cardboard and the premise is spelled out in the beginning.
Dani Trumball is a former DA who works for an organization called the Help Innocent Prisoners Project. They take clients who are on death row but may be innocent, generally clients who were badly represented the first time. This much is realistic, though Dani spends a lot of time insisting that she can only defend someone whom she really believes is innocent, which is not really a defense attorney's job. Yes, it's nice when they believe their client is innocent, but their job is to make sure their client gets a fair trial and that the state follows due process and does not violate anyone's rights. Even as a non-lawyer, I know that most legal shows and public opinion get this wrong, and it's what a lot of people have a problem with, the fact that it's often not the truth of guilt or innocence that matters.
Dani's organization is approached by the matriarch of an obscenely rich family, whose grandson was convicted of the rape and murder of his ex-girlfriend seven years ago, and is now about to be executed. Dani is reluctant to take the case, since their organization usually represents those too poor to hire their own lawyers, and it's not clear why the Meltons would want her help. But they offer to make a huge donation, and an even larger one if Dani gets Win Melton off of death row, so Dani, despite misgivings, takes the kid's case.
Inasmuch as there might be any mystery as to whether Win actually did it, this is dispelled early on as the author writes in an annoying omniscient multiple-POV fashion that puts us inside Win's head, inside the head of the serial killer who confesses to the crime that Win is on death row, and inside the heads of everyone else Dani meets.
Dani is naturally suspicious that a convicted rapist-murderer who's also about to be executed conveniently confesses to Win's crime. They do some checking to see if Dani's grandmother paid him or his family to take the fall, but don't turn up anything. The first half of the book is the legal maneuvering which leads to an unsurprising result, although at several points there were some items that stretched my suspension of disbelief, with my limited understanding of the law.
Then, of course, Dani founds out that the Meltons did meddle with witnesses, and she has to find out the Truth. The rest of the book is a plodding investigation to uncover the real killer.
While the plot was interesting enough and I was hooked by the premise, I really wasn't impressed either by the execution or by the author's writing, which is a textbook example of telling rather than showing. We're told what characters think, we're told what they do, we're told what they did, we're told what they feel, and all of this telling substitutes for actual characterization. Likewise, there isn't much tension in any of the revelations because everything is telegraphed. I thought the story was okay but the writing was rather amateurish and reminded me more of a debut novel than the third book in a series.
I liked how the author developed both the characters and the plot. This was a fast-moving, realistic story that revealed human flaws as well as criminal justice system flaws. Well done!
"Concept Was Interesting, Execution Less So"
The IDEA is interesting. Rich boy convicted of raping and killing his ex-girlfriend spends 7 years on Florida death row. An Innocence Project type group is inveigled into taking his appeal for a retrial when another convict confesses. Seems like it would be riveting. Sadly, it's not
This was a painful listen. Perhaps the writing is better read than when spoken, but I suspect it's not. The writing is best described as plodding. Actions are described so awkwardly that I longed for a red pencil to make some edits. Beyond the writing, there is so much in this story that is just odd. For example, the main character cuts her hair. Then, at least, two times she reaches up to twirl her locks around her finger, BUT she never did this prior to cutting the hair. Then there's a jury consultant introduced. She and the main character have lunch, she explains what it is she does, the main character uses her questions in voir-dire and that's the last we see of the jury consultant. She doesn't even have any interactions with the main character in re advising on jury selections. All we get is a list of (weird) questions which the main character is supposed to have used during selection, but we don't even hear jurors answers. Why was this character even introduced? At one point, the main character marvels that the original trial only took two days - shockingly quick for a capital murder trial. And, yet, the retrial appears to only take 3 days.
Some reviewers have compared this unfavorably to other books by the same author. Based on this book, I will not be trying anything else by Marti Green
An easy listen, but rather predictable. Some have been critical of the lack of character development. This is the case however it doesn't destroy the novel.
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