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Extended Audio Sample The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town Audiobook, by John Grisham Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (29,026 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: John Grisham Narrator: Dennis Boutsikaris Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: October 2006 ISBN: 9780739324202
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When Ron Williamson signed with the Oakland A’s in 1971, he said goodbye to his hometown of Ada and left to pursue his dreams of big-league glory. Six years later he was back, his dreams broken by a bad arm and bad habits. He moved in with his mother and slept twenty hours a day on her sofa.

In 1982, a twenty-one-year-old cocktail waitress in Ada named Debra Sue Carter was raped and murdered, and for reasons that were never clear, they suspected Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz. The two were arrested and charged with capital murder.

The prosecution’s case was built on junk science and the testimony of jailhouse snitches and convicts. Dennis Fritz was found guilty and given a life sentence. Ron Williamson was sent to death row.

If you believe that in America you are innocent until proven guilty, this audiobook will shock you. If you believe in the death penalty, this book will disturb you. If you believe the criminal justice system is fair, this book will infuriate you.

Download and start listening now!

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Quotes & Awards

  • “As fantastic and gripping as any of his fictional work.”

    New York Post

  • A gritty, harrowing, true-crime story. Time
  • A triumph. Seattle Times
  • Grisham has crafted a legal thriller every bit as suspenseful and fast-paced as his best-selling fiction. Boston Globe
  • “Grisham has written both an American tragedy and his strongest legal thriller yet, all the more gripping because it happens to be true.”

    Entertainment Weekly

  • “Grisham has crafted a legal thriller every bit as suspenseful and fast-paced as his bestselling fiction.”

    Boston Globe

  • “A gritty, harrowing true-crime story.”

    Time

  • “[Grisham’s] reasoning is sound and his passion is contagious.”

    Washington Post

  • “Grisham at his succinct, and often sardonic, best.”

    New York Daily News

  • “A triumph.”

    Seattle Times

  • “Shocking, disturbing, and enthralling—a must read for fiction and nonfiction fans.”

    Amazon.com, editorial review

  • A USA Today Bestseller
  • A #1 New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mayda | 2/20/2014

    " This nonfiction book reads like a novel. It is no less a legal thriller for being a true account of justice gone awry. While at times it seems a bit tedious and redundant, it is nevertheless a compelling story of murder in a small town, and the ruthlessness of the prosecutors who seek a murderer, but go after the wrong man. Well researched, but not documented, it is slanted towards the wrongly condemned, to the detriment of the legal system. And yet, if not for a handful of lawyers and judges, the condemned man would never have been freed. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Crystal Johnson | 2/10/2014

    " I have always enjoyed Grisham's books but I was looking forward to a non-fiction not a letter to the editor. To many of his opinions and jabs as opposed to telling the story that really happened. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Rose | 2/6/2014

    " Difficult to read without becoming angry at the injustices inflicted on the main characters, and the lack of responsibility and apology by prosecutor. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Louise Brand | 1/28/2014

    " This is a terrible book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 S. Paul Fitzpatrick | 1/23/2014

    " This one was a great read. Read like fiction. Grisham does a great job of putting the story together and painting a sad picture of Ron. Worth a read for sure. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara | 1/20/2014

    " Good book. I do want to follow-up by reading William Peterson's story as well. As they say, hind sight is 20-20, so this book was written with full knowledge of what transpired. Although a huge miscarriage of justice occurred, I hope that it wasn't as evident when it was happening as Grisham portrays. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Hanna | 1/17/2014

    " Longest read ever! It's a slow read but a good example of what goes on in our country. My question is how can you get so many incompetent imbeciles into one courtroom?!?!?! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kimberly | 1/16/2014

    " Vaguely reminds me of the injustice in the original Michael Morton case. I love Grisham's true story telling style! "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 Vicki Zylstra | 1/14/2014

    " What a disappointment! I've really enjoyed the mre recent Grisham books, but this was a monotone narrative. I haven't quit a book before it was finished in years, but I just couldn't bear this one anymore. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Pat Ramsey | 1/9/2014

    " I got this book from the library not realizing it was non-fiction. It proves Grisham is an excellent storyteller. To date, it is one of my favorites of his. I highly recommend it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacey | 12/24/2013

    " This book was very disturbing. A true glimpse into the American justice system. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Keri | 12/22/2013

    " Being from Ada I enjoyed the local story. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Rasmus Sæderup | 12/18/2013

    " Not much to say. Good book from start to end. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shawnda | 12/2/2013

    " It was amazingly sad that such horrible verdicts can happen in the USA. So sad, I'm glad John Grisham wrote this book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jay Holls | 10/30/2013

    " One of Grisham's borin works "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Darcy | 8/27/2013

    " This is a very good book that i started over my school break and am currently on around page 300. I hear this is a series of books and hope to read the others. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Errin | 5/23/2013

    " This was slow at times but the fact that it is a true story puts it over the top! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dawn Marie | 4/29/2013

    " Very different for Grisham in that this is a true story. Very gripping story and makes you think hard about the death penalty. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christy Kilgore | 2/15/2013

    " If you like true-crime books and/or John Grisham you will like this. I found it on my mom's bookshelf and picked it up to have something to read by the pool and it did the trick just fine. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lynn | 1/28/2013

    " Anti-death penalty project that reads like a newspaper. There is plenty of finger-pointing to go around, but I came away with the firm belief that when prosecutors commit malpractice, they should lose their jobs. Period. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 SaraK | 1/5/2013

    " Pretty compelling. Wrongly convicted man on death row finally gets released. But the book dragged on a little too long, IMO. I prefer Grisham writing fiction. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melon | 11/17/2012

    " Its a Truman Capote wanna be but it was still enjoyable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Michelle Beese | 9/4/2012

    " John Grisham did an excellent job of bringing all of these real people together in this gripping true story of our justice system, and how innocent men are imprisoned for crimes they did not commit. I often wonder how many innocent men have NOT made it off of Death Row. In my mind, one is too many. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Tabatha | 8/12/2012

    " A true story and an awesome and breath taking story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Courtney | 6/6/2012

    " Am I proud about how much I liked a John Grisham book? No. No, I am not. I also didn't think I'd learn anything new that I didn't already know regarding the death penalty. This book made me more frustrated and fired up about the issue than I have been in a long time. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Barbara Mccrary | 3/11/2012

    " Reading about the wrongly convicted is not an uplifting topic, but interesting and definitely thought-provoking. Would recommend, but be ready to seriously question the legal system! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jessica | 9/20/2011

    " A stunning portrait of police corruption, a statement against capital punishment and must read book for anyone who believe that a guilty verdict always means justice has been served. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Joyce McKune | 5/28/2011

    " Struggle of an innocent man condemed to death row. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Dman29 | 5/13/2011

    " A bit on the boring side... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susan | 5/12/2011

    " Listening to the book as we drove home from DC. It's a very good listen ... "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Calderq | 5/4/2011

    " It was a hard book to get into because of all the detail and "law talk". I did how ever find myself captivated by the story and fascinated that this kind of injustice takes place in our country. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer | 5/3/2011

    " John Grisham's first non-fiction work. He told it like the lawyer he was. Causes one to really contemplate the death sentence and wonder how many are still in prison and are innocent. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lee | 4/25/2011

    " A good story, but it could have been told in half the number of pages. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Geof | 4/22/2011

    " The scariest stories are the true ones. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Louisa | 4/22/2011

    " This was a page turner. A non-fictional account by John Grisham. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mindy | 4/19/2011

    " I can not believe how idiotic the justice system was to this poor man!
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tad | 4/9/2011

    " A terrible indictment of justice and the death penalty in America -- Grisham adds his research to that of Robert Mayer's terrific reporting on the case in The Dreams of Ada. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carrie | 4/6/2011

    " This nonfiction work of Grisham's reads just like his novels. Without the author's note, I might not have even realized that this story of investigative ineptitude was real. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Darcy | 3/28/2011

    " This is a very good book that i started over my school break and am currently on around page 300. I hear this is a series of books and hope to read the others. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sue | 3/28/2011

    " It's an intriguing true story. It really makes you think of the flaws of our justice system and our attitudes towards those arrested and on trial. I will definitely be more careful of what I think of the defendant the next time I get jury duty. "

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About the Author
Author John Grisham

John Grisham, whose name has become synonymous with the modern legal thriller, used to work sixty to seventy hours a week at a small Southaven, Mississippi, law practice, squeezing in time before going to the office and during courtroom recesses to work on his hobby—writing his first novel. When finally published, A Time to Kill met with little success, but when he sold the film rights to The Firm to Paramount Pictures, Grisham suddenly became a hot property among publishers. Spending forty-seven weeks on the New York Times bestseller list, The Firm became the bestselling novel of 1991. The successes of The Pelican Brief, which hit number one on the New York Times bestseller list, and The Client, which debuted at number one, confirmed Grisham’s reputation as the master of the legal thriller. His success even renewed interest in A Time to Kill, which was then republished. This time around, it was a bestseller. Since first publishing A Time to Kill in 1988, Grisham has written one novel a year, and all of them have become international bestsellers. There are currently over 275 million John Grisham books in print worldwide, which have been translated into forty languages. Nine of his novels have been turned into films, as was an original screenplay, The Gingerbread Man. He lives in Virginia and Mississippi.

About the Narrator

Dennis Boutsikaris has won two Obie Awards, one for his performance in Sight Unseen, and played Mozart in Amadeus on Broadway. Among his films are W.Batteries Not Included, The Dream Team, and Boys on the Side. He is a recipient of both Audie and Earphones Awards and has read over 140 audiobooks.