Category: Books

Hatton Garden ITV

ITV’s Hatton Garden drama has been engrossing. The language is ripe and the cast – including Timothy Spall and Kenneth Cranham – is excellent. The Diamond Wheezers who burgled the underground safe-deposit company in London’s jewellery district in 2015 is a fascinating true-crime story. While pulling off this shocking theft, the veteran lags are also…




An Inconvenient Death

Just finished Miles Goslett’s account of the Dr David Kelly affair and it is a disconcerting read. Dr Kelly was the British scientist and weapons expert who was caught up in the controversy over whether Iraq really had missiles that could threaten Britain with mass destruction in 45 minutes. This claim was used to help…




The Innocent Man by John Grisham

I started watching the Netflix true-crime series, but decided to switch to John Grisham’s book to better absorb these events. The author says in the series that you could not write this story as fiction because no one would believe it.

John Grisham's The Innocent Man
John Grisham’s shocking true-crime account

It’s a really shocking tale of a vicious miscarriage of justice. It involves a rotten police investigation, lamentable courtroom failures and a prosecutor apparently hellbent on enacting his own prejudices.

The town you probably want to avoid in Oklahoma where these events occurred was Ada. The case was the murder of waitress Debra Carter in 1982. Former hometown baseball hero Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz are the two innocents railroaded to jail. Williamson ended up on death row while Fritz got life.

Grisham can’t maintain authorial dispassion while relaying this events, his prose occasionally dripping with sarcasm at the callousness and malignancy of the authorities.

As Fritz states in these pages, ‘When you don’t have any money to defend yourself, you’re at the mercy of the judicial system. Once in the system, it’s almost impossible to get out, even if you’re innocent.’

A powerful book full of villains and wonderful ordinary people fighting for justice. Sadly, Williamson and Fritz lost more than they could ever get back – and the true killer roamed free for years.




The Onion Field by Joseph Wambaugh

Joseph Wambaugh, former LA cop, has had an interesting writing career, spanning fiction and non-fiction. I’ve read several of his books and just finished this true-crime title from 1973. It recounts events from 1963 when two LAPD officers stopped a pair of small-time but dangerous characters. Greg Powell and Jimmy Lee Smith pulled a gun…