The Guardians
By: John Grisham

Quick-take: Slow. Complicated. Emotional.

Dan's Review

Cullen Post, who prefers just "Post", is an ordained pastor, and is also a lawyer. He was a lawyer first until a case broke him. He walked away. His second career was a pastor. A case caught his eye, and he used his knowledge of the law to exonerate the innocent man. Freeing innocents is now his full time job. The hours are long. The pay is low.

Freeing the wrongly convicted is very difficult. Once a case is closed, the system prefers it that way. Overturning means paying damage. Those in power to reopen it do not like to admit they got the worng guy. Even if there is extremely compelling evidence saying the person is innocent, getting the case looked at is still difficult. After all, judges are elected to put bad guys away... not set them free. "They all say they are innocent", after all.

The obvious answer is, "But this evidence proves this person is not the bad guy, so what is the problem?"  A typical answer is, "If not this one, they are probably guilty of some other crime." I have actually heard that painful argument myself. The political perspective... if set free and they do something bad, that is campaign fodder for my opponent.

Post has 6 clients, and we get glimpses of all the one. The main one driving the novel is the wrongful conviction of Quincy Miller. Quincy was convicted and has been serving 22 years for the murder of a lawyer. Post digs and unearths all the witnesses, officers, detectives... everything related to the case to be able to shoot down and ask the state to reopen it.

This isn't really a mystery novel. We aren't trying to figure out who did it. Post makes it clear he is not really concerned about that. His goal is to prove the person did not do it.

It isn't an action novel either. Everything happened many years ago. Most of the book is talking to clients and witnesses about something that happened long ago. Also, there is a main character narrating about the pains of the legal system.

It was all kind of boring with glimpses of action when the legal system moves forward. Feeling the exoneration (almost) made it worth the long read. It is impossible to not feel moved when the judge apologizes on behalf of the state and then gives back freedom after so many wrongful years. Prepare to cry with the characters.

Score 3/5. It was a good story. I prefer my books to have more steady entertainment and actually live the story vs having it told to me.

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