By FRANCINE PROSE Caroline Leavitt JOANNA POWELL
March 19, 2007 12:00 PM

By Kerry Max Cook

REVIEWED BY CAROLINE LEAVITT

MEMOIR

In a Kafkaesque tale, Cook recounts his 22 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. In 1977, after his fingerprint was found at the scene of the rape, murder and mutilation of a woman he vaguely knew, the 20-year-old Texas bartender was charged with the crime. Police, prosecutors and judges railroaded Cook into a murder conviction, landing him on Texas’s brutal death row. But Cook never gave up. In ’99, four trials later, with new legal help and DNA evidence, he was released. Amazingly free of bitterness, Cook is now a father and passionate advocate for legal reform; his struggle was featured in the film The Exonerated. Although the writing is clunky, Cook’s tale is so gripping that only a heart of steel won’t break after reading it.

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