Confessions of an Innocent Man

So. I was scrolling Instagram not too long ago and Dutton Books asked if anyone was interested in receiving an advanced copy of Confessions of an Innocent Man by David R. Dow. I messaged and said I was because I’d read Autobiography of an Execution and it blew me away. Well, Confessions also blew me away. I finished reading it over the weekend, but waited to write a review so I could sort out the very complicated emotions this book made me feel.

David Dow is a great writer. He knows how to tell a story. The book flowed and there were not any wasted words or scenes. The plotting was tight and made sense. It is a suspenseful story. Mr. Dow knows how to wind up the tension at just the right moments.

Plot. The plot is this – a restaurant owner meets a rich socialite and they hit it off. She is older than he and has a condition that makes sex painful so she tells him he can have sex with other women. They get married and are truly happy. Until she is killed. Suspicion ultimately falls on Rafael because – it’s always the husband. He is tried and ultimately convicted. He is sent to death row. He is in prison for six years when he is exonerated. He then plans surprising revenge. And that is all I’m saying about the plot. I do not want to spoil anyone’s pleasure at reading this book.

I probably could have given this book five stars. Except for the fact that I was not fond of the ending. It made me cry, actually. This story brought up so many emotions. I have long believed in the death penalty – that is that some people do things that are so heinous and awful they deserve to die. But. I also think that our death penalty is applied so unfairly that it does not serve the purpose it was intended to serve. It is disproportionately applied against the poor and minorities and the innocent, that I do not support imposition of the death penalty anymore. We are just too flawed to do justice. This book made me sad and angry and heartbroken.

The fact that I felt all of those emotions is a testament to the kind of story that David Dow has told in this book. His writing about death row in Texas is heartbreaking and infuriating. We manage to rob people of their freedom, but more importantly, of their humanity. And that should never happen. As Bryan Stevenson says, “None of us are the worst thing we have done.” David Dow makes that point so eloquently in this book. I’m not going to lie. At times, this book was really, really hard to read. But it was so worth the hardship. It is beautifully written and tells a very important story. If you are interested in the law or like legal thriller or just lie a really well-told story, I highly recommend this book.

I received an advanced copy of this book and got no other compensation in exchange for this review. The opinions expressed herein are mine and mine alone. Thank you Dutton Books for allowing me to read this book.

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