A Book Spy Review: ‘Confessions of an Innocent Man’ by David R. Dow

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Author David Dow, an attorney who founded the Texas Innocence Project, delivers a powerful, thought-provoking debut thriller that’s not to be missed. 

Rafael Zhettah has it all. Then he has nothing.

Content, happy, and satisfied with his life—which consists, mostly, of cooking at his restaurant—things take a turn when he meets Tieresse Kerryman, a billionaire bombshell who falls for Rafael after meeting at his restaurant. The two hit it off immediately, with Tennessee proving to be the aggressor in their relationship, making her intentions known and going after him with a love-soaked fury. Eventually, the two wed, merge their lives together, and ride off happily ever after into the sunset—oblivious to the storm on the horizon. 

One night, while Rafael is out bedding another woman, a provision in their marriage stemming from a medical issue that forces Tieresse to keep things in the bedroom G-rated, she’s murdered in their home. Police lock onto Rafael as their prime suspect early on, and after he’s arrested, a jury eventually finds him guilty and sends him away to prison—where he’ll spend his remaining days on death row, awaiting execution for a murder he didn’t commit. 

Over time, Rafael mourns the loss of his wife, the tragic about-face his once-perfect life, unfortunately, took on a dime and without warning, and battles anger over the unfairness of his impending execution. Eventually, those feelings turn to rage, which he uses to plan his revenge on those who wronged himand once his plan is set into motion, there ain’t no going back or stopping . . . for Rafael, or the reader. 

Dow’s work with incarcerated individuals, and the experiences he must have gained from meeting those who’ve done real, hard time while actually innocent, is evident as he masterfully captures the tortured voice of a man whose freedom was ripped away by a failed system that hung him out to dry. Taking readers inside Rafael mindset, Dow projects his anguish and pain, prompting an emotional response from readers who, with every page, will find themselves holding their breath as he sets out to right wrongs in his own way, cheering him on as he goes.

The characters are well-developed, the pacing is fast, and the story is absolutely stunning. Confessions of an Innocent Man is a red-hot debut that falls somewhere between a work of psychological suspense and a legal thriller, and should attract fans of both.  

Book Details

Author: David R. Dow
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)
ISBN: 1250164656
Publisher: Dutton
Release Date: April 9, 2019
Book Spy Rating: 8.0/10

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Praised as “one of today’s finest book reviewers” by New York Times bestselling author Gayle Lynds, Ryan Steck (“The Godfather of the thriller genre” — Ben Coes) has “quickly established himself as the authority on mysteries and thrillers” (Author A.J. Tata). Steck also works full-time as a freelance editor and pens a monthly thriller column for CrimeReads. For more information, be sure to follow him on Twitter and Facebook. He currently lives in Southwest Michigan with his wife and their six children.

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One comment

  1. I received an advance reader’s copy of this book and it blew me away. I just didn’t see any of the last third coming. I thought it was genius and really really good.

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