Monday, April 23, 2007

Conviction, by Richard North Patterson

This unabridged audiobook was obtained from the Alachua County Library, was on 14 CDs, originally published in 2005, and narrated by Patricia Kalember.

I've enjoyed most of Richard North Patterson's books, but they have been getting preachier. So, if you are a death penalty opponent and you don't like to have your convictions questioned at any point in your literature, this one is for you.

Rennell Price is on death row, along with his brother, for a sex crime and murder of a 9 year-old girl. Rennell has been on death row for 15 years, and ever since the day he was picked up by the police, he has asserted that he, "didn't do that little girl". Unfortunately, Rennell is borderline retarded, had a totally useless attorney, and with only a month before he is to be executed, he gets a new attorney with a functioning brain.

Of course there is reasonable doubt, and no evidence actually tying him to the crime. But if it takes a harmonic convergence of ineptitude, prosecutor meanness, and bad law, from the bottom all the way to the Supreme Court, all you have to do is write it to make it happen.

The characters are well-written and engaging, but that is the least I expect from Mr. Patterson. But if my eyes get repetitive motion injuries from rolling throughout the story, something is definitely wrong here. On the count of propagandizing with intent to outrage, I find the defendant guilty. The mitigating factor of good prose makes me go easy on him: 2 stars.

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