Anatomy of Innocence tells the incredible true tales of over a dozen unique individuals, innocent men and women convicted of serious crimes who were cast aside by society, branded as criminals, but eventually, miraculously exonerated. Each “exoneree” will be paired with a talented, highly recognized thriller or mystery author, such as Lee Child and Sara Paretsky, and the two will work closely to present a chapter of the exoneree’s tale. The sum is a representative story, where similar threads are woven through each experience, where facets shine from the same hard but brilliant stone. Anatomy of Innocence is illustrative of all exonerees, tracing their journey, step-by-step, from accusation to freedom and beyond.
Many exonerees will tell you that their arrest was a shock. Some sought out the police themselves, wanting to set things straight. They all knew they were innocent and believed the system would know that too. So, in nearly every case, the reading of the verdict ― GUILTY ― was a nightmarish blow. The early days in prison were a hell from which each expected to suddenly awaken. Yet each exoneree found a path to personal salvation inside prison, a way to keep body and, more importantly soul, alive. Each felt joy when someone on the outside believed in them, providing investigative or legal aid. Each experienced the miracle of exoneration. But all learned that getting out of prison was not the end of their suffering.
Wrongful convictions happen with surprising regularity, yet very few people understand how they happen, why they happen, how someone could survive the experience and more importantly, the consequences. Chapter-by-chapter, this book will uniquely illustrate how innocence is thwarted and then eventually regained. To add power to the voices of these exemplary exonerees, highly skilled mystery and thriller writers – all students of the criminal justice system and its effect on those caught up in it – will tell the exonerees’ stories. By pairing master storytellers with exonerees and their incredible narratives, Anatomy of Innocence will present wrongful convictions and exonerations as a collective national experience, examined from a variety of unique perspectives. Anatomy will tell the incredible true stories and reveal the intense emotions that innocent men and women from all over the country experience through different parts of the journey to exoneration. It is about the incredible stress that innocent persons go through during trial when they realize they may actually be imprisoned for a crime they did not commit. It is about the pure jubilation surrounding re-entering society that is often followed by confusion and frustration. In the end, Anatomy of Innocence is unique in examining the exonerees’ experiences step-by-step via highly skilled storytellers. By doing so the book brings to life the tragedy that is a wrongful conviction.
Sometimes heartbreaking and harrowing, sometimes comical and endearing, Anatomy of Innocence reads with the breakneck pace of a thriller novel while shedding a documentarian’s light on a topic long shrouded with confusion. Net proceeds from the book will benefit Life After Innocence. All exonerees involved will be compensated for their participation and will receive a percentage of sales post a sales threshold.
About the Contributors
Publisher: Liveright Publishing Co./W. W. Norton
Scott Turow and Barry Scheck (director of the Innocence Project) wrote the foreword.
John Sheldon & Gayle Lynds
Laurie R. King
…and a previously unpublished essay from the Estate of Arthur Miller