When John Grisham read the obituary of Ronald Williamson in early 2004, he realized he had come across a story even more riveting than those he had turned into 18 global bestsellers with worldwide sales of 200 million copies.
It was a story of failed dreams, madness, rape and murder, a botched trial, a wrongful death sentence and a twelve-year fight to win justice.
Ronald Williamson was a local hero in his home town of Ada, Oklahoma. A fabulously talented baseball player, he excelled at college and was set to become a national sports star when injury wrecked his career. Mental illness and alcoholism followed his return to Ada, a burned-out shell of a man. While in prison serving a short sentence for a petty felony, a fellow prisoner alleged that he had heard Williamson confess to the unsolved rape and murder of a local bar girl. Denied drugs for his psychiatric problems, given a blind attorney who had never defended a criminal case, Williamson stood no chance and was sentenced to death. One of the greatest mistrials in American judicial history became one of the greatest fights for justice of any convicted man.
Five days before his execution, Williamson was given a stay and shortly after completely pardoned.
John Grisham has been consumed by Williamson's story, researching every detail of the nerve jangling drama of the trial and deathwatch.
A court room drama and a race against time, John GrishamÃ�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�s first work of non-fiction is as compelling as any of his novels and will be compared to Truman CapoteÃ�Â¢Ã�Â�Ã�Â�s In Cold Blood.
Murder and injustice in a Small Town
"* 'a nall biting story' The Sun 'a killer combination of sheer story-telling nous and no-nonsense prose' Independent 'Grisham hasn't lost his touch' Daily Mirror"
John Grisham is the author of eighteen bestselling novels. He lives with his family in Virginia and Mississipi.