Author: Rick Bowers
Narrator: Eleanor Caudill
Length: 7 hours and 31 minutes
Released: Feb. 5, 2020
Publisher: Rick Bowers
Genre: Legal Thriller
Seeking a high profile case to jet-fuel her career and striving to strike a blow for justice, attorney Laura Tobias sets out to clear a man she believes was wrongfully imprisoned for murder, ten years before. The young lawyer, a rising star with the Council Against Wrongful Convictions, is the last hope for inmate Eddie Nash, serving life without parole at the infamous Attica Correctional Facility in upstate New York.
Attica, one of the last of the classic “big houses”, is still haunted by the 1971 inmate revolt and police siege that left dozens of prisoners and hostages dead. Appealing the cast in federal court and unraveling the facts, Laura uncovers evidence that Eddie was framed by the police for murder – the brutal hanging of a troubled young woman in the remote upstate town of Eden.
Realizing that the real “hangman of Eden” may still be at large, Laura also finds herself being stalked. Are the police out to stop her from exposing their frame-up? Is the real killer seeking to keep her from reopening the investigation?
Teaming up with noted innocence investigator Charles Steel, she gets a lead on evidence that could clear her client and point to the real killer. With a new trial moving forward, Laura must find the truth and prevail in court, without becoming the next victim.
Rick Bowers is an award-winning author and journalist specializing in the quest for social justice and equal rights. Rick has written three books, penned a PBS documentary and directed an oral history project that gathered thousands of first-hand accounts of the civil rights movement. Rick’s work has also been honored with the prestigious Peabody Award, Emmy Award and Webby Award.
Rick recently debuted as a fiction writer with the release Innocence on Trial — a legal thriller about an idealistic young lawyer seeking to exonerate a wrongfully convicted man. Finding that her client was framed by the police, attorney Laura Tobias also finds herself being stalked. Are the police seeking to keep her from exposing their frame-up? Or is the real killer trying to stop her from re-opening the case?
Bowers’ non-fiction book Spies of Mississippi (National Geographic, 2010) exposed the secret, state-run spy network dedicated to preserving segregation in 1950s and ’60s. Spies of Mississippi transported readers into a world of infiltrators and informants working to undercut civil rights organizations in the deep South at the height of the civil rights movement. The state spies framed civil rights leaders, jailed activists, threatened sympathizers and funded white supremacist organizations with tax dollars. Working with filmmaker Dawn Porter, Bowers also penned the PBS/Independent Lens documentary version of Spies of Mississippi, which won numerous awards for its hard hitting treatment of the topic. Bowers’ book Superman vs. the Ku Klux Klan (National Geographic 2012) revealed how the Man of Steel exposed the men of hate to a generation of children. The book details how the producers of the Adventures of Superman radio serial pitted the iconic superhero against a thinly veiled version of the KKK to five million children radio listeners in 1946, winning widespread praise from civic leaders and the press and humiliating the actual Klan. Superman vs. the KKK is now in development as a feature film by Paper Chase Films in L.A.
In addition to writing books and making films, Bowers also conceptualized and directed “Voices of Civil Rights,” a ground-breaking oral-history project that collected thousands of first-hand accounts of the small acts of courage that powered the civil rights movement. This priceless treasure trove of 21,000 recollections, letters, essays, audio tracks, videos and photographs is now archived at the Library of Congress and the Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. A collaboration of AARP, the Library of Congress, the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights and History Channel, Voices produced best-selling books and award-winning documentaries. The Voices of Civil Rights documentary won the prestigious Emmy and Peabody awards.
He has also appeared on a wide range of media outlets, including PBS, NPR, CBS, the History Channel and Discovery Network.
Prior to working on books, films and multi-media projects, Bowers worked as a newspaper reporter and editor for more than 15 years, reporting for the “Patriot Ledger “of Quincy, Massachusetts, the “Miami Herald, “and “USA Today.” His articles have been published in many of the most prestigious publications in the country, including the “Washington Post,” “Chicago Tribune,” ” Philadelphia Inquirer,” and “TIME.” He also worked as a director/vice president of creative initiatives for AARP, conceptualizing and directing far-reaching projects on important social issues.
I am a voice over, theatre, and commercial actress. I have a strong and confident speaking voice and a penchant for identifying the subtleties and nuance within varying reading materials. I have a passion for reading and that passion is multiplied when sharing a story with others. It would be my honor to tell your story.
Edward Thomas Nash has been a resident at Attica Correctional Facility for ten years and seven months for the brutal murder of a young stripper. Supposedly, he didn’t approve of the employment choice of his former childhood friend and alleged lover and was heard threatening her hours before her body was found hanging over an embankment. Nash didn’t have an alibi and his DNA was found at the scene… on the victim.
Guilty as charged. Goodbye, Mr. Nash, end of story. The end, right?
Not even close.
On the surface, Innocence on Trial plays as a legal battle to free an innocent man from prison. But is he innocent?
Is Attorney Laura Tobias really a pure of heart do-good litigator out to correct a miscarriage of justice or does she have a more self-serving agenda?
An imperfect legal system imprisons innocent people all too often, but was there more at the heart of the Nash case than the status quo rush to justice and racial inequity?
And if Eddie Nash didn’t kill Erin Lambert, who did? Who is the Hangman of Eden?
The author has done a great job of constructing a maze of shady characters, inept attorneys, and dirty cops that allow for anyone to have been Erin’s killer, including Eddie Nash. But the suspense is turned up to high after Laura is stalked and assaulted and an attempt is made on Eddie’s life in his prison cell.
Standouts for me were Charles Steele, the African-American investigator for the Council Against Wrongful Convictions. Steele and his undercover team can go where most people cannot to find the truth. Loved Lou “no last name.” Judge Peter Striker, who presides over the second trial. He’s seen it all, done it all, and is not putting up with anyone’s nonsense. We could use more judges like him IRL. John Tobias, Laura’s father. A retired New York prosecutor, John isn’t a fan of the old boys’ network and still has a hand in fixing the system. However, his daughter is always his first concern.
I liked Laura and Eddie. I saw many sides of their personalities, flaws, and all, and they are not cardboard cutout characters. Laura is sharp and knows she’s underestimated by her colleagues. She’s driven and aggressive but takes the time to consider her every word and action. Laura is out to prove herself, but she also wants to be on the right side of the truth. Eddie doesn’t lie to himself about who or what he is, and he’s haunted by the words of benevolent prison guard, Fridge, that “every con ever to enter this prison is guilty of something.”
The finishing touch to this legal thriller is the great narration by Eleanor Caudill. Voicing well over a dozen characters, Caudill masters gender, ethnicity, social status, and vernacular with tone and inflection and kept me riveted in the story right up to the ending I was not ready for!
This gritty, well-written legal thriller will appeal to anyone to enjoys a good story, especially lovers of suspense. Kudos to the author… and I wouldn’t be upset should Charles Steele or Peter Striker appear in other stories. Or the same story! Just saying.
I volunteered to review this audiobook as part of my participation in a blog tour with Audiobookworm Promotions. The tour is being sponsored by Rick Bowers. The gifting of this audiobook did not affect my opinion of it.
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