Author: Rick Bowers
Narrator: Eleanor Caudill
Length: 7 hours and 31 minutes
Released: Feb. 5, 2020
Publisher: Rick Bowers
Genre: Legal Thriller
Seeking a high profile case to jet-fuel her career and striving to strike a blow for justice, attorney Laura Tobias sets out to clear a man she believes was wrongfully imprisoned for murder, ten years before. The young lawyer, a rising star with the Council Against Wrongful Convictions, is the last hope for inmate Eddie Nash, serving life without parole at the infamous Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York. Attica, one of the last of the classic “big houses”, is still haunted by the 1971 inmate revolt and police siege that left dozens of prisoners and hostages dead. Appealing the cast in federal court and unraveling the facts, Laura uncovers evidence that Eddie was framed by the police for murder – the brutal hanging of a troubled young woman in the remote upstate town of Eden. Realizing that the real “hangman of Eden” may still be at large, Laura also finds herself being stalked. Are the police out to stop her from exposing their frame-up? Is the real killer seeking to keep her from reopening the investigation? Teaming up with noted innocence investigator Charles Steel, she gets a lead on evidence that could clear her client and point to the real killer. With a new trial moving forward, Laura must find the truth and prevail in court, without becoming the next victim.I received this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Rick Bowers. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
Q&A with Author Rick Bowers
- How did you come up with the idea for Innocence on Trial?
- I had taken my brown-and-white spotted mixed breed hound (Luke) to our friendly neighborhood dog park. A young woman was there with fast and feisty three-legged border collie named Bo Bo. After telling me about her dog, she told me about herself. She was a student at Georgetown studying innocence law. That is, she was preparing to become an attorney specializing in exonerating the wrongfully convicted. I was surprised that there was an entire specialty based on exoneration. I studied the issue and found out what a huge problem it is. And I set out to write a book on this critical social justice issue. But I wanted to write a compelling piece of fiction that would be fun to read.
- Did the woman in the dog park inspire your main character?
- Yes. I created the character of Laura Tobias. She is an idealistic — and ambitious – young attorney with the Counsel Against Wrongful Conviction in New York. She also owns a three-legged border collie who I renamed “Tripod.” Laura sets out to exonerate a man she believes was wrongfully convicted of a brutal murder 10 years before. Laura is the last hope for inmate Eddie Nash, whose serving life without parol at the infamous Attica Correctional Facility in remote New York State. Laura uncovers evidence that her client was framed by the police and that the real killer is still out there. She also finds herself being stalked.
- Cool. Did you set out to write a murder mystery with an important social theme?
- Yes. The book is a fun read. Areal who-done-it. It also raises the issues of wrongful conviction. Wrongful convictions have reached epidemic proportions in the United States.
- How so?
- Just consider these three points:
- There are more than 2.2 million incarcerated people in the U.S.
- Studies show that 2.3 to 5 percent are innocent.
- That means there are over 115,000 innocent people locked in our jails and prison.
- We know that several death row inmates have been executed only to have evidence of their innocence surface after their deaths.
- This is unacceptable. Just imagine the horror.
- Who is trying to change this? To stop wrongful convictions?
- The Innocence Project has spawned a new movement to exonerate the wrongfully convicted and redress the causes of wrongful conviction. For the past 25 years the Innocence Project has intervened in hundreds of cases, forcing the courts to release hundreds of inmates by proving their innocence. The use of DNA evidence to prove an inmate’s innocence has been key to this. Today, The Innocence Network is comprised of 67 organizations worldwide that fight for there wrongfully convicted.
- What are the causes of wrongful conviction?
- There has been a great deal of research on this and the causes are well known.
- Bad eye witness testimony and misidentification.
- Police misconduct — lying on the stand… planting evidence, tampering with evidence, etc.
- Bad forensic science: Everything from misidentifying to faking evidence and DNA test results.
- False Confessions: Police tricking or coercing suspects to confess to crimes they did not commit.
- Snitch Testimony: Jailhouse snitches fingering a suspect in exchange for early release or other favors.
- Bad defense attorneys.
- Are there things that can be done?
- Yes. The fixes are fairly straight forward:
- REFORM LINEUPS AND PHOTO ARARYS
- VIDEO TAPE ENTIRE CONFESSIONS
- PRESERVE DNA EVIDENCE
- IMPROVE FORENSIC OVERSIGHT
- ESTABLISH INNOCENCE COMMISSIONS
- ASSURE EXONEREE COMPENSATION
- LIMIT SNITCH TESTIMONY
- REFORM PLEA DEALS
- What do you hope listeners get from your audiobook?
- First of all, I hope listeners enjoy it. I hope they are entertained. I hope listeners get lost in the story. The narration of the book is fantastic. The performer brings each characters to life and keeps the story moving toward the surprise ending. I hope listeners try to guess who committed the crime. Few have succeeded. After enjoying the book I hope listeners get a sense of the enmity of problem of wrongful conviction. Who knows? Maybe a few will even join in to help make things better.
Who Listens to Audiobooks?
By Author Rick BowersThe slow-rolling drawl of a Southern sherif. The hardcore cockiness of a Boston thug. The guttural moan of an unsuspecting stabbing victim. The eerie squeal of a morgue drawer rolling open — slowly. These are just a few of the captivating voices and compelling sounds created by the talented narrators of audiobooks. These skilled performers voice more than 40,000 titles per year, including literary classics, fascinating biographies, perplexing mysteries, fast-paced thrillers and scorching romance novels. Across the genres, these gifted artists give us unforgettable characters, intense dialog, dramatic soliloquies and tell-tale background noises that make great stories even greater. Their storytelling prowess stimulates our audio sensations the same way our ancestors captured our imagination around the campfire eons ago. No wonder so many of us love listening to a great book. But the question remains. Who listens? The Audiobook Publishers Association conducts an annual survey to gauge the state of the industry. The most recent study tells the story of a booming industry, fueled by high listener satisfaction and soaring demand. “The research confirms that audio publishing continues its upward trajectory. Seven consecutive years of double-digit growth is truly extraordinary,” said Chris Lynch, co-chair of the APA’s Research Committee and President and Publisher of Simon & Schuster Audio. “More audiobooks are being produced and more people are listening than ever.” Highlights follow: Total units produced: 44,685. Up 5.8 percent. Total receipts: $940 million. Up 24 percent Listener ages: 55 percent were under 45. Where they listen: 74 percent listen in their cars. 68 percent listen at home. “The most popular audiobook genres sold in the U.S. are general fiction, mysteries/thrillers/suspense, and science fiction/fantasy. However, non-fiction sales are close behind these top categories and represented 32.7% of unit sales… General non-fiction, history/biography/memoir, and self-help posting the biggest numbers. Audiobooks for adults made up 91.2% of revenue, roughly unchanged from prior years. Sales of Adult and Young Adult titles each increased double digits… while titles targeted at children grew more moderately.” As for me, I love listening to a great audiobook on a long car trip. There’s nothing like getting lost in an intriguing mystery that keeps me guessing to the big reveal. I must confess: after hours of driving I often slow down to make sure I finish the book before reaching my destination. Like many of those surveyed, I also enjoy listening at home. I love to stretch out on the coach and close my eyes, listening to a great story unfold in my mind. Or to simply fade off to sleep with the voice of a great narrator sparking my dreams.
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