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Death Row: The Final Minutes

Length: 7 hrs
4 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Summary

In 12 years, Michelle Lyons witnessed nearly 300 executions.

First as a reporter and then as a spokesperson for the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, Michelle was a frequent visitor to Huntsville's Walls Unit, where she recorded and relayed the final moments of death row inmates' lives before they were put to death by the state.

Michelle was in the death chamber as some of the United States' most notorious criminals, including serial killers, child murderers and rapists, spoke their last words on earth, while a cocktail of lethal drugs surged through their veins.

Michelle supported the death penalty, before misgivings began to set in as the executions mounted. During her time in the prison system, and together with her dear friend and colleague, Larry Fitzgerald, she came to know and like some of the condemned men and women she saw die. She began to query the arbitrary nature of the death penalty and ask the question: do executions make victims of all of us?

An incredibly powerful and unique look at the complex story of capital punishment, as told by those whose lives have been shaped by it, Death Row: The Final Minutes is an important take on crime and punishment at a fascinating point in America's political history.

©2018 Michelle Lyons & Larry Fitzgerald (P)2018 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Self-indulgent autobiography of boring author

Starts well then we have to listen to author rambling on. I wasn't interested in hearing about her pregnancy. and career or when she lost her job. Strikes me she was deservedly sacked. Not interested either in her working for the Israeli Embassy. The author didn't have anything more to say so she made up the time telling us how badly she was treated by her employer. I wanted to put her on Death Row for boring me numb.

3 people found this helpful

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Interesting story but not told well

This is a very interesting premise but sadly the author thought it was all about her rather than the people she saw die. This was extremely frustrating. Fortunately, Larry FItzgerald had a lot to do with the narration, and he didn't make this young woman's mistake. Overall an ok read.

2 people found this helpful

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Interesting...but lacking real oomph

This was an interesting enough narrative, giving some good insights into life on the other side of the wall for both staff and prisoners involved in the death system. Very well narrated - unobtrusive and non-distracting. It also was not too long; this latter point was a saving grace really as a minute longer and I’d have been tempted to use the word “boring”. As can be the downfall of these “ordinary joe in extraordinary situation” tales, there was too much meandering into autobiography. The minutiae of the rather mundane personal lives and inner workings of these people is rarely of interest; it’s the situation, the tale, that is the reason someone bought their story.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

very interesting read. great voice to listen to

very gòod. a different world. sad at times and a little look into a world none of us would ever like to find ourselves in

2 people found this helpful

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very interesting listen

loved this book! .......... my first ever audio book and it wont be my last one

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Though Provoking

Okay, so it’s not so much about the final minutes, that is true, but nevertheless it is an interesting and thought provoking glimpse in to the author’s experience of the American criminal system and the politics and processes around capital punishment. I liked the description of her personal journey, her thoughts and feelings about some of the death row inmates she came to know and also the later chapters when she was treated so badly by her employers.

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  • HJ William
  • 02-08-18

Tough but worth it.

A tough subject from someone who lived a tough life.
I found myself wanting to stop and return this book multiple times:
- Sometimes because I did not want to hear any more praise for the prison system
- Sometimes because the reading was not all that great
- Sometimes because I was done hearing about the conflict that is capital punishment

It was worth the listen. Mostly to hear the heartfelt story that Michelle told.
I was curious to see where Michelle would stand at the end and it was not what I would have thought.
The only way Capital Punishment will come to an end or more prominent use is if we as a society hear and understand all sides and then as a group attempt to move beyond punishment revenge.
Easy for me to type as I have not experienced the challenges that Michelle has...however, I would quote Victor Frankel who said: "There is always a choice."

2 people found this helpful

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  • Julia
  • 11-04-19

Might Change Your Mind.

I am sure that everyone has an opinion on the death penalty. I certainly do and thought that my mind could never be changed. Before reading Death Row I really never thought it through. The victims and their families, the condemned and the innocent people who love them, the correction officers, the Chaplin, the administrative staff , the journalists and other witnesses. Of course not forgetting the dreadful crimes that put that inmate on that gurney in the first place.

Michelle Lyons and the late Larry Fitzgerald recount their times working for the justice system and with the condemned. They relate how they felt about the death penalty and why. Such compassionate people in such violent circumstances. There are parts that made me cry as some laws just do not make sense. Michelle Lyons really made me think about the 'law of parties' when the actual murderer would get a life sentence but the driver would get the death sentence.

How do I feel about the death penalty now that I know more? I am more open to debate, more open to hearing the other person's point of view.

Michelle Lyons, John Moraitis and Laurel Lefkow give superb performances. Obviously this is a sensitive subject which some narrators would deem it necessary to add drama for the sake of pathos, not these professionals. They deliver this book in a empathetic yet factual manner.

If the death penalty debate is something that you are interested in I highly recommend Death Row, the Final minutes

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Angelic E.
  • 29-03-19

Great read

I never considered the impact capital punishment has on those charged with carrying out the task. a very interesting perspective and the balance of humanity for others and realization of past transgressions are profound.

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  • Mike
  • 18-03-19

Starts good, falls apart around CH12

Started off with interesting details on countless observations of executions, like laying the groundwork for the eventual climax. Unfortunately, the story devolves around Chapter-12, when it turns into Michelle's disgruntled blame-game for why she couldn't witness more executions; not the climax I was expecting (or wanted to hear). I wouldn't describe this as a great story, but rather a chronological justification of every decision she's ever made, ending with therapeutic catharsis as the reason her book exists. While I applaud how strong a person she must've been, editors should have saved her from the weak finger-pointing chapters.

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  • NAM
  • 30-07-18

Interesting

As a person whose interest in LE and all aspects of it, it is interesting to hear the inside stories behind a very well known Texas Prison as Texas is highly known for the death penalty. There are stories of the persons on death row on the TDCJ website. It tells you the crime committed, last meal if there was one and date of execution. Michelle did good with this book. Getting her and Larry’s perspective on it. Superiors like hers seem to be everywhere.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 28-05-18

Somewhat misleading title

This is an interesting book, but it does not really go into detail about “the final minutes”.
I was very disappointed the narrator consistently mispronounced several words common in Texas such as “San Miguel, Martinez, and Corsicana”. Come on, you’re from Texas and do not know how to pronounce common Hispanic surnames?
I appreciate that the author did not try to convince me the death penalty is wrong, but instead she explains her growth and changes which led to her change of mind.
As far as the conflict with Livingston, he is your boss. Your job is to do what he says, not what your former supervisor thought the job should be. No wonder you were drummed out, but as a former exempt employee, I understand the hypocrisy of those time sheets
Overall, a good listen

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  • DALIA R.
  • 11-05-18

A very interesting book. Worthy to read ( or listen)

I know the writer, she is the daughter of my best friend, when her mom tell me where she was working , I always wonder how could she do that job!

So thanks Michelle for finally get my answer, now no because I know her mother I say is a great book and you need read it. But is because make you see how much heart breaking her and her mentor job was, also make you see another view to a death sentence.

I still think in some cases they need it, but i also think sometime the worst part for some people is been looked for a life.

The performance is great it doesn’t make you sleep, with happen to me when I listen to a not fiction books ( I have couple I can’t finish it), but sound like listen to a friend tell you a stories of they life; With is it.

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  • Jacob
  • 06-11-18

Hard to follow but still enjoyable

The way the book uses multiple readers makes it somewhat hard to follow and confusing as to why voices are changing. It is still a good story if you can follow along and pay attention . Not a casual listen.