In graduate school my favorite classes were the forensics courses I took. I LOVED them. I knew a career in forensics wasn’t for me though, because I personally don’t deal well with blood. In graduate school we dealt with bone. Bone was something I was okay with which is why I pursued a career in archaeology.
Still, forensics always fascinated me. For our midterms and finals we were given a box of bones. We would have to identify the number of individuals, sex, and age. Solving puzzles with a little mystery was always exciting to me, which is why I think I gravitate towards books like The Guardians by John Grisham.
In the small Florida town of Seabrook, a young lawyer named Keith Russo was shot dead at his desk as he worked late one night. The killer left no clues. There were no witnesses, no one with a motive. But the police soon came to suspect Quincy Miller, a young black man who was once a client of Russo’s.
Quincy was tried, convicted, and sent to prison for life. For twenty-two years he languished in prison, maintaining his innocence. But no one was listening. He had no lawyer, no advocate on the outside. In desperation, he writes a letter to Guardian Ministries, a small nonprofit run by Cullen Post, a lawyer who is also an Episcopal minister.
Guardian accepts only a few innocence cases at a time. Cullen Post travels the country fighting wrongful convictions and taking on clients forgotten by the system. With Quincy Miller, though, he gets far more than he bargained for. Powerful, ruthless people murdered Keith Russo, and they do not want Quincy Miller exonerated.
They killed one lawyer twenty-two years ago, and they will kill another without a second thought.
According to the Innocence Project, the percentage of U.S prisoners that are innocent is estimated to be between 2.3 and 5 percent. The Guardians, by John Grisham sheds light on the flaws in our legal system and how easy it can be for an innocent person to serve time.
While the book mainly focuses on the wrongful accusation of Quincy Miller, intertwined within the plot are additional innocent clients and their stories. I appreciated the amount of research and clarification that went into the legal process. It was helpful to understand how great of an undertaking it is to prove someone innocent who was wrongly accused.
I also enjoyed how John Grisham dove into the vast corruption involved in these cases. It was eye opening to see how many key players could be involved from corrupt lawyers, cops, prison guards, and prison gangs.
Overall, The Guardians, by John Grisham is an easy ready. It isn’t until about half way through that momentum picks up and starts to hook you. I wouldn’t say the book keeps you on the edge of your seat, but it is a great legal mystery.
Beyond the Book
The best part of this book that I never expected, was the Author’s Note at the back. John Grisham revealed part of the inspiration for this book came from Centurion Ministries. This organization helps exonerate innocent people from prison. The second I read they had a website I immediately jumped over and began reading the real life stories of the innocent people they were able to help. Not only was it fascinating, but it made me want to help. Truly help. There is so much wrong in this world and these poor people are serving a sentence for crimes they did not commit. If you have a moment to check them out, I highly recommend it.
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