Conviction: A Novel

Richard North Patterson, Random House, 2005

I just finished it. Patterson happens to be in the upper half of my list of favorite authors, and this one didn’t disappoint me. On the surface, it’s a story about the defense of a man convicted and sentenced to death for his role in a murder. More importantly (at least in my opinion), it’s an eye-opening, thought-provoking work that looks at the risks associated with (and to a lesser extent, the constitutionality of) capital punishment in the US, the workings of the US legal system (even as Patterson admits that he had to significantly simplify aspects of it to make the book accessible to readers), and how easy it is for our justice system to lose sight of the fact the system itself exists to protect individual people (both victims and people accused of crimes). This isn’t the first time that he has taken on a potentially difficult subject (the death penalty), but he does it in a manner that will (should?) have make people stop and think about their own views on the subject.