Monday, November 2, 2015

Blog Tour: Stolen Years: Stories of the Wrongfully Accused by Reuven Fenton

Author: Reuven Fenton
Publisher: Tantor Media
Date of publication: November 10, 2015

There is a horrible murder in your neighborhood. You stand outside with your neighbors and watch, or maybe you peek out of your curtains. Hours pass, then days, maybe even years. Until one day there is a knock at your door, and the police take you in for questioning. Do you remember what happened? Do you have an alibi? Can you take countless hours of interrogation without breaking? Can this happen to you?
It can happen, and it happens more than you think.

From The Fixer to The Shawshank Redemption to Orange Is the New Black, books, films, and TV shows have, for decades, fed the public’s endless hunger for nitty-gritty details about prison life. Stolen Years will not deny listeners those details, but it will also offer something more satisfying: the stories of ten former inmates who fended off the blackest kind of despair so they could keep fighting for freedom; the years they spent waiting for an appeal; and their struggles to get back to living after losing so many years behind bars.

Intense, startling, and utterly compelling, Stolen Years will take readers into the stories of the ones who didn’t do it.

Stolen Years: Stories of the Wrongfully Accused was a step outside of my usual type of reading genre.  I used to read a lot of true crime anthologies, but not in a long time.  This book is a twist on that genre.  They are stories of crimes, but the people convicted and imprisoned were actually innocent.  Each of them have been given a voice in this book to tell their side of the story, their ordeal in prison, and the aftermath of their exoneration.  

This isn't really a book that I would recommend reading all the way through in one sitting.  I felt that after two or three stories, I had to take a break.  While each of the wrongfully accused was ultimately set free, I felt such a huge disappointment at the end of their tales.  Each of them had lost so much and would probably never get it back.  They  had no place to go, no job skills, and no family or friends.  I especially felt for the mother who went in as a good single mom and came out with strained relationships with her children.  One of them still believes she is guilty of murder.  That just broke my heart.

The author does a nice job of wrapping up the book in the end with tips and ideas of how the system could improve to help prevent this from happening.  One of the things that I noticed was that none of them asked for a lawyer when they were taken in for questioning.  Innocent or not, never talk to the police without a lawyer! It might have saved a lot of them from making false confessions. The other thing that I didn't realize is that just because you are exonerated doesn't mean in the eyes of everyone else that you are innocent.  Often these people had to go to court to get that in writing in order to get a job.  

I thought this book was well written.  I do recommend giving it a look.  It's definitely a book that will make you think!

About Reuven Fenton

Reuven Fenton has been covering murder and scandal for the New York Post since 2007. He has earned national recognition for his exclusive reporting on national stories, such as the resignations of political powerhouses Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner; Hurricane Sandy and the devastation
it brought on New York and New Jersey; the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School; and the Boston Marathon bombing. Mr. Fenton was inspired to write Stolen Years after covering an unforgettable court hearing in 2013 in which a Brooklyn judge freed David Ranta, a man who’d been wrongfully convicted twenty-two years earlier of murdering a rabbi. The sensational story sparked an investigation into misconduct by both the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the lead detective in the case. Mr. Fenton is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and lives in New York City with his wife and two sons. 

Follow him on Twitter at reuvenfen.

Reuven Fenton’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:

Monday, November 2nd: From the TBR Pile
Tuesday, November 3rd: Dwell in Possibility
Wednesday, November 4th: Dreaming Big
Thursday, November 5th: Bookchickdi
Monday, November 9th: Wildmoo Books
Tuesday, November 10th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Wednesday, November 11th: Julz Reads
Thursday, November 12th: Raven Haired Girl
Monday, November 16th: The Things We Read
Monday, November 16th: A Book A Week
Tuesday, November 17th: Diary of a Stay At Home Mom
Wednesday, November 18th: Good Girl Gone Redneck
Thursday, November 19th: WV Stitcher
Monday, November 23rd: Run Wright
Tuesday, November 24th: Broken Teepee – author guest post
Tuesday, November 24th: Life is Story

1 comment:

Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Thanks for being a part of the tour!