Book Review - The Innocent Killer

by Michael Griesbach (Windmill) ISBN: 9780099510833

A book like The Innocent Killer is in danger of becoming a glorified court transcript with a few opinions thrown in. More so when the author, in this case Michael Griesbach, is not only a prosecutor, but one involved in the case. He seems to acknowledge these issues in the book, writing that “trying a case is like telling a story” and that a lawyer who fails to capture and hold the jury’s attention, shouldn’t be in the courtroom at all. 

I believe the writer who did narrative non-fiction best was Truman Capote in In Cold Blood. Not many come close, and I expected the same of The Innocent Killer.

Its billing as a companion read for the TV series Making a Murderer, also about wrongfully convicted Steven Avery, and which I haven’t watched, brought to mind school textbooks. Yes, the book does go into the minutiae of US court procedure, but with care and intent; there is transcript, but not to an arduous, overwhelming extent; and there is a lot of opinion. 

But Griesbach pleasantly surprised me in pulling all this together in a way that is thought provoking and very readable (and this is just his first book).

Carol Stier
www.writerswrite.co.za
3/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate.

Book Review - The Guilty

by David Baldacci  (MacMillan) ISBN No: 9781447277811

David Baldacci is one of my favourite authors, and he delivers another fast-paced read in the latest Will Robie thriller, The Guilty. 

My heart fell when I read Baldacci’s letter prefacing the book, in which he writes that he wants to show that Robie is not infallible, and that “he has emotions just like anybody else”. Frankly put, this is not how I like my assassins. Baldacci adds that this novel “is slightly different from others in this series” because in it Robie is confronted by his own past rather than a mission. 

As a reader who prefers my men of mystery to remain mysterious, I resigned myself to disappointment, but read on nonetheless. To my welcome surprise Baldacci gets it right. Somehow, the reasons for Robie’s fallibility are plausible, and for his emotion, excusable. He lives to fight another day no less of an assassin than he was before, all with the help, of course, of his sidekick Jessica Reel. 

It is indeed a page-turner, just a pity the pages fell out as fast as I turned them. The whole of chapter four will have to be glued back in, and everything up to about chapter seven is in danger. I can only hope this is because I was reading a sample copy. 

Carol Stier
Www.writerswrite.co.za
3.5/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate

Book Review - From Playground To Prostitute

by Elanie Kruger with Jaco Hough-Coetzee (Delta) ISBN: 9781928248026

It takes a special kind of courage to bare one’s soul, especially in the way abuse survivor Elanie Kruger does to Jaco Hough-Coetzee. This is why I felt a bit cheated to find that Hough-Coetzee has fictionalised Kruger’s grim account in From Playground to Prostitute. 

To be fair, it is made clear on the cover that the book is “based on a true story of salvation”, and this type of treatment does make it a lot easier to read. But, in changing her name for the story, he echoes the way in which she was made to take on a new identity when she was forced into prostitution, leaving me wondering if she has entered a new phase of abuse. 

Storifying her ordeal also gives Hough-Coetzee the leeway to make presumptions about her thoughts and motives, and those of her assailants, and the other people she encounters, and these don’t always ring true. 

Kruger’s real voice emerges in part two of the book, which accounts for the last 40 pages, and deals mainly with how her newfound religious faith has helped her cope. However, tucked in among this and a few old newspaper articles, she gives some interesting statistics and tips. 

Carol Stier
Www.writerswrite.co.za
3/5

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Writers Write offers the best writing courses in South Africa. Writers Write - Write to communicate