Book Review – The Innocent Murderer By Michael Griesbach

I should first point out that prior to reading this I had not only watched the Netflix series Making A Murderer but I had also listened to numerous crime podcasts where the case and evidence had been discussed at length by various professionals and that knowledge did impact a little upon my reading of this book.

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The Goodreads Blurb…

The story of one of America’s most notorious wrongful convictions, that of Steven Avery, a Wisconsin man who spent eighteen years in prison for a crime he did not commit and now the subject of the hit series Making a Murderer. But two years after he was exonerated of that crime and poised to reap millions in his wrongful conviction lawsuit, Steven Avery was arrested for the exceptionally brutal murder of Teresa Halbach, a freelance photographer who had gone missing several days earlier. The “Innocent Man” had turned into a cold blooded killer. Or had he? This is narrative non-fiction at its finest and the perfect companion read for fans of Making a Murderer.

First thing that has to be said is that the author is not a writer, he is a lawyer and occasionally it shows, but that can be forgiven in parts though you cannot help but think that occasionally he could have cut some of the repetition of facts and credit us with being able to retain information or flick back through pages to double check if we need to, I guess it is because he is used to drumming facts into jury’s.

The second thing you should know is that the first three quarters of this book focus on the crime for which Steven Avery was wrongly convicted and his subsequent appeals and exoneration, the last quarter deals with the murder trial and conviction and I have to be honest you might think the two sections had been written by different people.

The first section dealing with the wrongful conviction is full of details, it goes in depth and questions the process which led to this travesty of justice, likewise the author pulls no punches in his own part of this story where he is instrumental in the process of setting Steven Avery free. Disappointingly in the last section he acts the same way as he accuses the documentary of acting and cherry picks the facts he likes to create his version of the story.

Now I am going to say at this point I still cannot say I am sure either way if Steven Avery is guilty of the murder of Teresa Halbach, what I am sure of is the the evidence was not as cut and dried as this would have you believe, nor is the idea of the conspiracy as flimsy as this books would like to believe. I get it, the author cannot allow himself to believe the system would prove to be corrupt twice but given the same players were involved in both cases is that really such a far stretch.

Now the big question of ratings and recommendations, I would suggest reading this as part of a general interest in the case and to learn more about the wrongful conviction, but if you are looking for more information on the murder charge and trial you will not find it here, I also recommend you watch the Netflix documentary before you read this as the author does make the assumption you have seen it. So based on the overall book I am giving it 3 out of 5 stars, I knocked off half for the writing style but the rest for the last quarter which has extreme bias against the documentary which I believe clouded the authors ability to examine the evidence without prejudice. The sad thing is that there are no winners here, if Steven Avery is innocent it means the law is corrupt once more, a guilty man is walking free while an innocent one is locked up and Teresa Halbach’s family will be dragged though hell not knowing the truth. The other side of that coin is that if Steven Avery is guilty with way the investigation took place and the subsequent documentary’s and books will always raise question marks and may even one day see him walk free again on technicalities. I have my own possibly alternative theories on the case, questions that have not been satisfactorily answered, if I have them then so must others and until they are all answered it is hard to see Teresa ever being allowed to truly rest in peace.

 

3 stars

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