Cover image for Confessions of an innocent man : a novel / David R. Dow.
Title:
Confessions of an innocent man : a novel / David R. Dow.
ISBN:
9781524743888
Publication Information:
New York, New York : Dutton, [2019]
Physical Description:
293 pages ; 24 cm
Abstract:
Rafael Zhettah relishes the simplicity and freedom of his life. He is the owner and head chef of a promising Houston restaurant, a pilot with open access to the boundless Texas horizon and a bachelor, content with having few personal or material attachments. When he finds Tieresse-billionaire, philanthropist, sophisticate, bombshell-sitting at one of his tables he also finds his soul mate, and his life starts again. And just as fast, she is brutally murdered in their home, he is convicted of the crime and sentenced to die. But for Rafael Zhettah, death row is not the end. It is only the beginning. Now, with his recaptured freedom, he will stop at nothing to deliver justice to those who stole everything from him.
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Summary

Summary

Rafael Zhettah relishes the simplicity and freedom of his life. He is the owner and head chef of a promising Houston restaurant. A pilot with open access to the boundless Texas horizon. A bachelor, content with having few personal or material attachments that ground him. Then, lightning strikes. When he finds Tieresse-billionaire, philanthropist, sophisticate, bombshell-sitting at one of his tables, he also finds his soul mate and his life starts again. And just as fast, when she is brutally murdered in their home, when he is convicted of the crime, when he is sentenced to die, it is all ripped away. But for Rafael Zhettah, death row is not the end. It is only the beginning. Now, with his recaptured freedom, he will stop at nothing to deliver justice to those who stole everything from him.

This is a heart-stoppingly suspenseful, devastating, page-turning debut novel. A thriller with a relentless grip that wants you to read it in one sitting. David R. Dow has dedicated his life to the fight against capital punishment-to righting the horrific injustices of the death penalty regime in Texas. He delivers the perfect modern parable for exploring our complex, uneasy relationships with punishment and reparation in a terribly unjust world.


Author Notes

David R. Dow is the Cullen Professor at the University of Houston Law Center, and the Rorschach Visiting Professor of History at Rice University. A graduate of Rice and Yale, Dow's areas of expertise include constitutional law and theory, contract law, and death penalty law. Working with students in his death penalty clinic, Dow has represented over 100 death row inmates during their state and federal appeals. He is also the founder and director of the Texas Innocence Network.

He lives in Houston and Park City, Utah, with his wife Katya, their son Lincoln, and their dogs Delano and Soul.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Defense attorney Dow, the founder of the Texas Innocence Project, makes an impressive fiction debut. Wealthy Tieresse Kerryman courts Rafael Zhettah, a chef from a humble background, after she has a meal at his Houston restaurant, and the pair soon marry. Their fairy tale romance comes to an end two years later when Tieresse is bludgeoned to death with a candlestick in their home and Zhettah is arrested for her murder. Zhettah was sleeping with one of the waitresses at his restaurant at the time, but his alibi isn't enough to persuade a jury of his innocence. On death row, Zhettah struggles to maintain his sanity, even as a team of dedicated appellate lawyers battle to avert his execution. Eventually, Dow reveals the truth about the circumstances behind the teasing opening prologue, in which Zhettah offers cake to two fellow prisoners, whom he addresses as "Your Honors," on the one-year anniversary of their captivity. The plot is a page-turner, and the addition of Dow's knowledge of the legal machinery of death and his nuanced characterization of his lead elevate this above similarly themed legal thrillers. Agent: Simon Lipskar, Writers House. (Apr.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Library Journal Review

DEBUT In this first novel from memoirist Dow (Things I've Learned from Dying), restaurateur Rafael Zhettah falls in love with Tieresse, an older, wealthy philanthropist. A year after the wedding, she's violently murdered. Despite an alibi and circumstantial evidence, Rafael is convicted, sentenced to death, and spends over six years on death row before previously withheld evidence is discovered and exonerates him. Unlike many who have been wrongfully convicted, Rafael's gratitude is mitigated by a need for retribution, which he quickly begins to seek out. The novel explores wrongful convictions, the death penalty and appeals process, life on death row, and exoneration. It's also about duplicity-the honest and hardworking man becoming a criminal only after a wrongful conviction; a legal system that seems too often to pit police, prosecutors, and judges against the truth-and features an ingenious, well-planned, and perfectly executed revenge. VERDICT This fast-paced legal thriller powerfully captures themes of love, surrender, despair, and vengeance. It will appeal to fans of Phillip Margolin and George Pelecanos, and pair nicely with Anthony Ray Hinton's memoir The Sun Does Shine. [See Prepub Alert, 10/22/18.]-George Lichman, Rocky River, OH © Copyright 2019. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.