The Guardians

The Guardians

A Novel

Book - 2019
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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.
Publisher: New York : Doubleday, [2019]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780385544184
Branch Call Number: GRI
Characteristics: 375 pages ; 25 cm

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j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Only 5 quotes in goodreads … not compelling for readers to post more?

He’s been on death row for only nine years. The average in this state is fifteen. Twenty is not unusual. There is an appeal bouncing around somewhere in the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta, and when it lands on the desk of the right law clerk within the hour this execution will be stayed. Duke will return to the horrors of solitary confinement and live to die another day.
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I place my briefcase and cell phone, same as before. “Watch and belt?” I ask like a real smart-ass.
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Duke is thirty-eight and white, and before getting arrested for rape and murder his criminal record consisted of two DUIs and a bunch of speeding tickets. No violence whatsoever.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

His name is Mark Carter. White male, age thirty-three, lives in a small rental house in the town of Bayliss, ten miles from Verona. In my files I have photos of his house and truck and current live-in girlfriend. Eleven years ago, Carter raped and murdered Emily Broone, and now all I have to do is prove it.
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Bite mark and hair analysis have been discredited in most advanced jurisdictions. Both belong to that pathetic and ever-shifting field of knowledge derisively known among defense and innocence lawyers as junk science.” God only knows how many innocent people are serving long sentences because of unqualified experts and their unfounded theories of guilt.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

His name is Mark Carter. White male, age thirty-three, lives in a small rental house in the town of Bayliss, ten miles from Verona. In my files I have photos of his house and truck and current live-in girlfriend. Eleven years ago, Carter raped and murdered Emily Broone, and now all I have to do is prove it.
===
Bite mark and hair analysis have been discredited in most advanced jurisdictions. Both belong to that pathetic and ever-shifting field of knowledge derisively known among defense and innocence lawyers as junk science.” God only knows how many innocent people are serving long sentences because of unqualified experts and their unfounded theories of guilt.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Duke Russell was convicted in a backwater redneck town where half the jurors struggle to read and all were easily misled by two pompous and bogus experts put on the stand by Chad Falwright. The first was a retired small-town dentist from Wyoming, and how he found his way to Verona, Alabama, is another story. With grave authority, a nice suit, and an impressive vocabulary, he testified that three nicks on the arms of Emily Broone were inflicted by Duke’s teeth. This clown makes a living testifying across the country, always for the prosecution and always for nice fees, and in his twisted mind a rape is not violent enough unless the rapist somehow manages to bite the victim hard enough to leave imprints.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Her name is Vicki Gourley and she works in our little foundation’s office in the old section of Savannah. She founded Guardian Ministries twelve years ago with her own money. Vicki is a devout Christian who considers her work to be derived straight from the Gospels. Jesus said to remember the prisoners. She doesn’t spend much time hanging around jails but she works fifteen hours a day trying to free the innocent. Years ago she was on a jury that convicted a young man of murder and sentenced him to die. Two years later the bad conviction was exposed. The prosecutor had concealed exculpatory evidence and solicited perjured testimony from a jailhouse snitch. The police had planted evidence and lied to the jury. When the real killer was identified by DNA, Vicki sold her flooring business to her nephews, took the money and started Guardian Ministries.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

In the past ten years I’ve roamed virtually every highway throughout the Death Belt, from North Carolina to Texas.
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He may have been only fifteen years old, but he was a tough kid who had seen it all. Battle-hardened in the ways of gangs, drugs, and violence. He hated me and everyone else with white skin.
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As a criminal defense lawyer, I was already sick of the question “ How can you represent a person you know to be guilty? ” I had always offered the standard law school response of,” Well, everyone has the right to a proper defense. The Constitution says so. ” But I no longer believed that. The truth is that there are some crimes that are so heinous and cruel that the killer should either be ( 1 ) put to death, if one believes in the death penalty, or ( 2 ) put away for life, if one does not believe in the death penalty .

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Exonerating Quincy Miller is our goal. Finding the real killer is not a priority.
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Nothing against white folks, Post, but there are a lot of differences, you know? I listen to Motown, he likes that country crap. My bunk is neat as a pin. He’s a slob. I don’t touch drugs. He’s stoned half the time.
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He had dropped out of college and did not have the time to pursue a degree in criminology or anything related to actual science, so he attended seminars and workshops on forensics, and he read books and magazine articles written by other experts. He was a smooth talker with a good vocabulary, and he found it easy to convince judges that he knew his stuff. Once qualified as a forensics expert, he found it even easier to convince unsophisticated jurors that his opinions were based on solid science.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

“We haven’t really discussed fees, have we?” “Send me a bill. Then you can sue me.”
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The white cops and white prosecutor and white jury said he killed a white lawyer. Didn’t happen that way.
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I’m not sure why it is referred to as a satellite. It’s a prison, with all the usual dreary architecture and fencing. Unfortunately, the facility is operated for profit by an out-of-state corporation, which means the guards earn even less and there are fewer of them, the terrible food is even worse, the commissary gouges the men on everything from peanut butter to toilet paper, and the medical care is almost nonexistent. I suppose that in America everything, including education and corrections, is fair game for profiteers.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Over a twenty-five-year career, Norwood testified in hundreds of criminal trials, always for the prosecution and always implicating the defendant. And always for a nice fee.
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DNA testing arrived and put a serious dent in his business. DNA testing not only changed the future of criminal investigations, it brought a fresh and devastating scrutiny to the junk science Norwood and his ilk had been peddling. In at least half of the DNA exonerations of innocent men and women, bad forensics have been the cornerstone of the prosecution’s evidence.
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Because of the Internet, there are now hundreds of thousands of convicted sex offenders. For many reasons, they do not fare well in general prison populations. Most states are trying to segregate them into separate facilities. Virginia sends most of its to Tully Run.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Cook was a wild man, a hard-drinking redneck prone to brawling and chasing women. Nine years ago he caught the wrong one and married her. They spent a few rough years together taking turns moving in and out. Both had trouble keeping jobs and money was always an issue.
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“I believe that, Gerald. I really do, but getting you out will take a long time. There is simply no way to speed things along. As I told you before, it’s fairly easy to convict an innocent man and virtually impossible to exonerate one.” “This is so wrong, Post.”
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In the U.S. there are over two million people locked up, and it takes one million employees and $ 80 billion in tax dollars to take care of them.
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Very few women are criminals. Their mistakes are picking bad boyfriends.

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justkt54
Dec 04, 2019

This was not your typical John Grisham. It started slow for me and got a bit confusing. But once he hit his stride it was a very engaging read. It definitely makes you think about our judicial system in a new light. A very recommendable read.

d
darladoodles
Nov 28, 2019

My fall reading is not complete without my yearly dose of John Grisham. I have been a fan for more than 20 years and have loved some of his books more than others. This one had so much promise -- innocent people languishing in prison is a worthy cause for action and I applaud the organizations who work so diligently to prove their innocence. For some reason, though, I found myself losing focus while reading. Perhaps it was the number of characters we had to keep track of. Maybe it was the way Cullen Post's travels meandered worse than the back roads of Ford County. Nevertheless, Grisham does manage to pull it all together for an epic, movie-worthy ending. Not as good as "The Reckoning" in my opinion, but still glad I picked it up and learned more about the incredible amount of legwork involved in this work.

l
laphampeak
Nov 27, 2019

Failed my expectations. Seemed to borrow from the true events of "Just Mercy: a Story of Justice and Redemption" by Bryan Stevenson (highly recommend). I got through 30% and moved on to something more compelling. Guess I need more than what Grisham offers.

m
maipenrai
Nov 26, 2019

I was a little disappointed with this novel. I have high expectations for Mr. Grisham and found the events a little too predictable. I will still continue to read his books as I have for 20 years. Kristi & Abby Tabby

v
Vincent2017
Nov 26, 2019

I thoroughly enjoyed The Guardians. There were times I had a difficult time keeping up with all the characters, however, it all came together. It is based on a real organization, The Centurion Ministries, that do investigate those who may have been wrongly convicted. Most have spent a long time in prison for crimes of which they are innocent. Highly recommend reading this.

j
jimg2000
Nov 26, 2019

Updated with "Quotes" today.

Not counting the films based on his novels, this is Grisham's twelve book I have read. So, not surprised to find many familiar characters and deeds in "The Guardians" that can be read as a collection of short stories like the highly entertaining 2009 "Ford County," about lawyers trying to free wrongly incarcerated men in our dysfunctional criminal system. The main case is loosely based on a Texas inmate named Joe Bryan who was wrongly convicted of murdering his wife, a horrible crime in 1985. No new grounds other than a few paragraphs here and there on the deep-seated problem of our correctional system.

p
Parchmentkat
Nov 25, 2019

Love Grisham's legal thrillers. He has a way with words and a story to match. Fun reading entertainment.

t
tjdickey
Nov 21, 2019

Here's Grisham at his best - taking on a topic with righteous indignation (wrongful convictions), but without losing his sense of human, and of the deep foibles of humanity, and the twists the legal system can take along the way towards justice.

s
swheeler89
Nov 19, 2019

Of his recent books, near the top. The novel would pair well with Bryan Stevenson's Just Mercy. While this may not be Grisham's best work, it was engaging and a quick read. Definitely recommend it.

n
Nissan19
Nov 13, 2019

Not so good...many racial comments emphasizing negative stereotypes.. disappointing from such a well known author

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