Book Review – The Innocent Killer

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


Posted on: 14th April 2016