88 books like The Innocent Man

By John Grisham,

Here are 88 books that The Innocent Man fans have personally recommended if you like The Innocent Man. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Book cover of By Persons Unknown: The Strange Death of Christine Demeter

Greg Marquis Author Of Truth & Honour: The Oland Family Murder Case That Shocked Canada

From my list on the history of murder.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic, I have been researching Canadian police and criminal justice history since the 1980s and I teach courses on the history of policing, crime, drugs and homicide, and capital punishment. In 2014 I began to cover a high-profile murder trial in my region of Canada and ended up writing a best-selling book on the case. The Oland case reinforced my interest in true crime, both as a research topic and a cultural phenomenon. True crime, whether set in the distant past or contemporary times, offers writers and readers alike fascinating forays into specific societies and communities as well as human nature.

Greg's book list on the history of murder

Greg Marquis Why did Greg love this book?

This book was written not as a work of history, but contemporary non-fiction by two reporters covering one of Canada’s highest-profile murder cases of the 1970s, the killing of Christine Demeter, a former model married to flamboyant Toronto businessman and Hungarian immigrant Peter Demeter. By Canadian standards, the authors had unprecedented access to lawyers and others involved in the 1974 trial of Demeter for the murder of his wife and benefited from evidence and a cast of characters straight out of a best-selling crime novel. Demeter was found guilty and while serving his sentence he was convicted of instigating two separate plots to have people kidnapped and murdered. By Persons Unknown broke new ground in Canadian true crime writing.   

By George Jonas,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked By Persons Unknown as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

By persons unknown: The strange death of Christine Demeter [Jan 01, 1977] Jonas, George


Book cover of The Invention of Murder: How the Victorians Revelled in Death and Detection and Created Modern Crime

Michael Mullin Author Of Gothic Revival

From my list on books that bring us closer to Frankenstein’s monster.

Why am I passionate about this?

Most people think of Mary Shelley’s masterpiece as horror, but the truth is – and I love this fact! – Frankenstein is widely considered to be the first science fiction novel. I’ve always been fascinated with the origin story of the novel: Lord Byron’s ghost-story writing competition proposed among friends at Geneva’s Villa Diodati in 1816. I’ve watched every movie version of that iconic gathering. (Most are bad. Oh well.) As a college professor, I taught Frankenstein in a writing class. (I was also a preschool teacher. Honest! Those kids read other books.)

Michael's book list on books that bring us closer to Frankenstein’s monster

Michael Mullin Why did Michael love this book?

Another meticulously researched work of nonfiction, this book opened my eyes to the connection between real-life murders in Victorian England and the start of the public’s obsession with detective fiction.

As a fan of mysteries and thrillers in which not all characters survive, I was fascinated to see how the genre literally began. I’ve read a bunch of the old serialized tales, the “Penny Dreadfuls” talked about in this book, and I loved seeing them placed into their larger historical and cultural context.

By Judith Flanders,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Invention of Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'We are a trading community, a commercial people. Murder is doubtless a very shocking offence, nevertheless as what is done is not to be undone, let us make our money out of it.' Punch

Murder in the 19th century was rare. But murder as sensation and entertainment became ubiquitous - transformed into novels, into broadsides and ballads, into theatre and melodrama and opera - even into puppet shows and performing dog-acts.

In this meticulously researched and compelling book, Judith Flanders - author of 'The Victorian House' - retells the gruesome stories of many different types of murder - both famous…


Book cover of The Beautiful Cigar Girl: Mary Rogers, Edgar Allan Poe, and the Invention of Murder

Greg Marquis Author Of Truth & Honour: The Oland Family Murder Case That Shocked Canada

From my list on the history of murder.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic, I have been researching Canadian police and criminal justice history since the 1980s and I teach courses on the history of policing, crime, drugs and homicide, and capital punishment. In 2014 I began to cover a high-profile murder trial in my region of Canada and ended up writing a best-selling book on the case. The Oland case reinforced my interest in true crime, both as a research topic and a cultural phenomenon. True crime, whether set in the distant past or contemporary times, offers writers and readers alike fascinating forays into specific societies and communities as well as human nature.

Greg's book list on the history of murder

Greg Marquis Why did Greg love this book?

Similar to my second choice, this American study explores the impact of a sensational unsolved death on early Victorian New York and America in general. In 1841 Marie Rogers, an attractive young woman who worked in a tobacco shop, was found dead in the Hudson River, suspected to be a victim of murder. The case was well covered in the press and exposed weaknesses in the city’s system of policing.  The author details how Edgar Allen Poe furthered early detective fiction in his story The Mystery Marie Roger, which although set in Paris borrowed heavily from the New York events. An example of how the public can make a celebrity out of a murder victim who is not from the elite.     

By Daniel Stashower,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Beautiful Cigar Girl as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 14, 15, 16, and 17.

What is this book about?

On July 28, 1841, the body of Mary Rogers, a twenty-year-old cigar girl, was found floating in the Hudson-and New York's unregulated police force proved incapable of solving the crime. One year later, a struggling writer named Edgar Allan Poe decided to take on the case-and sent his fictional detective, C. Auguste Dupin, to solve the baffling murder of Mary Rogers in "The Mystery of Marie Rogt."


Book cover of Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Nation

Greg Marquis Author Of Truth & Honour: The Oland Family Murder Case That Shocked Canada

From my list on the history of murder.

Why am I passionate about this?

As an academic, I have been researching Canadian police and criminal justice history since the 1980s and I teach courses on the history of policing, crime, drugs and homicide, and capital punishment. In 2014 I began to cover a high-profile murder trial in my region of Canada and ended up writing a best-selling book on the case. The Oland case reinforced my interest in true crime, both as a research topic and a cultural phenomenon. True crime, whether set in the distant past or contemporary times, offers writers and readers alike fascinating forays into specific societies and communities as well as human nature.

Greg's book list on the history of murder

Greg Marquis Why did Greg love this book?

This is a compelling Canadian true-crime tale that captures the atmosphere of early 20th-century Toronto and explores the intersection of class, ethnicity, and societal expectations of proper moral conduct by men and women during wartime. The Masseys were a wealthy Ontario family that amassed a fortune manufacturing agricultural equipment. In 1915 Carrie Davies was an 18-year old English maid working in the home of C.A. “Bert” Massey. She killed her married employer with a revolver in front of a witness and freely admitted carrying out the crime, explaining that he had been making sexual advances towards her. I enjoyed this book as it reminds us of how legal rules and arguments in the past could be overwhelmed by public pressure and cultural expectations. Davies, who many viewed as a heroine, was acquitted of murder by an all-male jury in less than 1 hour.       

By Charlotte Gray,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Charlotte Gray, The Massey Murder as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Winner of the Arthur Ellis Award for Best Crime Non-Fiction
Winner of the Toronto Book Award
Winner of the CAA Lela Common Award for Canadian History
Winner of the Heritage Toronto Book Award
A Globe and Mail Best Book of the Year
Finalist for the RBC Taylor Prize, the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the Ottawa Book Award, the Libris Award, the OLA Evergreen Award

A scandalous crime, a sensational trial, a surprise verdict—the true story of Carrie Davies, the maid who shot a Massey

In February 1915, a member of one of Canada’s wealthiest families was shot and…


Book cover of Better, Not Bitter: Living on Purpose in the Pursuit of Racial Justice

Laura Whitfield Author Of Untethered: Faith, Failure, and Finding Solid Ground

From my list on taking risks, falling, and getting back up.

Why am I passionate about this?

After losing my beloved brother, I came to see the importance of taking risks and pursuing my dreams. What I learned is that with those risks come setbacks, even failure. I’ve lived a life of adventure and I’ve fallen down a lot, but I’ve also learned to get back up and go on. I love reading books about people who have learned resilience by trying, failing, gaining strength and wisdom, and carrying on. This experience is at the heart of what makes us human. It’s what connects us. I hope people who read my memoir will find the encouragement to keep going.

Laura's book list on taking risks, falling, and getting back up

Laura Whitfield Why did Laura love this book?

Better, Not Bitter is the inspiring story of Yusef Salaam, one of the Central Park Five (now Exonerated Five), who was arrested at fourteen and wrongfully incarcerated for seven years. While in prison, Yusef drew strength from his newfound faith—a faith that helped him survive the dangers he faced daily. In time, Yusef came to see that he was “born on purpose, with a purpose.” A powerful story of redemption and resilience, of one man’s mission to motivate others to make a difference in the world.

By Yusef Salaam,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Better, Not Bitter as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Named a Best Book of 2021 by NPR

This inspirational memoir serves as a call to action from prison reform activist Yusef Salaam, of the Exonerated Five, that will inspire us all to turn our stories into tools for change in the pursuit of racial justice.

They didn't know who they had.

So begins Yusef Salaam telling his story. No one's life is the sum of the worst things that happened to them, and during Yusef Salaam's seven years of wrongful incarceration as one of the Central Park Five, he grew from child to man, and gained a spiritual perspective…


Book cover of A Shot in the Moonlight: How a Freed Slave and a Confederate Soldier Fought for Justice in the Jim Crow South

Diane Fanning Author Of Written in Blood

From my list on racism in the USA.

Why am I passionate about this?

I don’t know when I became aware of and bothered by racial inequality but looking back, I see touchstones that lighted my path even before Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech stiffened my spine in middle school. I participated in sit-ins at lunch counters and sat in the back of buses. Even though I was a white kid in a predominately white school, it became personal to me. The injustice and unfairness of prejudice and discrimination was the antithesis of what I believed was the promise of America. In recent years, the quiet background noise of racial inequity has amplified to an ugly level. I recommend these books as a start to understanding and rectifying the current unacceptable situation.

Diane's book list on racism in the USA

Diane Fanning Why did Diane love this book?

A riveting true story about a freed slave and a confederate soldier who fought for justice in the Jim Crow South. The freed slave became the first man to beat a lynch mob in court. His small blow to racism made him a hero but one few know. I cried at his setbacks and cheered for every small victory along the way. Once I started reading, I could not put it down.

By Ben Montgomery,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Shot in the Moonlight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

After moonrise on the cold night of January 21, 1897, a mob of twenty five white men gathered in a patch of woods near Big Road in southwestern Simpson County, Kentucky. Half carried rifles and shotguns, and a few tucked pistols in their pants. Their target? George Dinning, a freed slave who'd farmed peacefully in the area for 14 years, and had been wrongfully accused of stealing livestock from a neighboring farm. When the mob began firing through the doors and windows of Dinning's house, he fired back in self-defense, shooting and killing the son of a wealthy Kentucky family.…


Book cover of Know My Name: A Memoir

Genevieve Kingston Author Of Did I Ever Tell You?: A Memoir

From my list on young women on journeys of self-discovery.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a young girl and aspiring writer, I was shocked when I learned how recently women had been afforded the right to publish under our own names. As a life-long reader of female authors, and lover of complex female protagonists, I’m passionate about supporting and sharing stories by and about women. As an author and playwright, I love to seek out buried narratives or minor characters, and put them center stage. I hope you enjoy these extraordinary books by these extraordinary women.

Genevieve's book list on young women on journeys of self-discovery

Genevieve Kingston Why did Genevieve love this book?

My overwhelming feeling after finishing this book was gratitude. I felt so grateful to Chanel Miller and to all the women who somehow find the courage and capacity to speak out about sexual assault.

Miller writes skillfully and devastatingly about the details of her own highly publicized attack on the Stanford Campus. I was glad to get to know the human being behind the headlines and to read an honest and meticulous account of the long legal process that follows such a harrowing event. I devoured this approachable, relatable, fearless book quickly, unable to put it down.

By Chanel Miller,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Know My Name as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Universally acclaimed, rapturously reviewed, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography, and an instant New York Times bestseller, Chanel Miller's breathtaking memoir "gives readers the privilege of knowing her not just as Emily Doe, but as Chanel Miller the writer, the artist, the survivor, the fighter." (The Wrap).

"I opened Know My Name with the intention to bear witness to the story of a survivor. Instead, I found myself falling into the hands of one of the great writers and thinkers of our time. Chanel Miller is a philosopher, a cultural critic, a deep observer, a writer's…


Book cover of Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System

Maurice Possley Author Of Hitler in the Crosshairs: A GI's Story of Courage and Faith

From my list on true stories with meaning and power.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist who has worked for the past 10 years as the senior researcher for the National Registry of Exonerations. In that capacity, I have written nearly 2,500 individual accounts of men and women and teenagers who were wrongly convicted of crimes they did not commit. Some of them were sentenced to death. I have seen and written about these tragedies firsthand.

Maurice's book list on true stories with meaning and power

Maurice Possley Why did Maurice love this book?

Chris Fabricant has written a compelling account of how the “junk science” of connecting bitemarks to human teeth has resulted in dozens of wrongful convictions of innocent people in America. I have known Chris for many years. He is a fierce advocate for truth and justice. This book powerfully exposes how forensic dentists have used methods with no scientific basis to convict the wrong people and the guilty people went free.

By M. Chris Fabricant,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Junk Science and the American Criminal Justice System as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Innocence Project attorney M. Chris Fabricant presents an insider’s journey into the heart of a broken, racist system of justice and the role junk science plays in maintaining the status quo.

Praise from John Grisham, author of A Time for Mercy: "No one in America will ever know the number of innocent people convicted, sent to prison, and even executed because of the flood of rotten forensics and bogus scientific opinions presented to juries. In this intriguing and beautifully crafted book, Innocence Project lawyer M. Chris Fabricant illustrates how wrongful convictions occur, and he makes it obvious how they could…


Book cover of This Is My America

Liza Wiemer Author Of The Assignment

From my list on empowering youth to speak up against hatred.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an educator, cook, lover of rooftops and nature. In 2017, a series of extraordinary events brought me to Oswego, New York to speak about my debut YA novel, Hello?. With time to spare, I scrolled through Facebook and saw, “Homework? NY Students Debate Exterminating Jews.” Where was the assignment given? Oswego! And surprise, at my book signing, I met one of the two brave teens who protested the debate. These experiences spurred The Assignment’s journey. Speaking up against bigotry, hatred, and injustice is a life-long quest of learning, action, and sharing knowledge. I hope you’ll join me. These books are a great start.

Liza's book list on empowering youth to speak up against hatred

Liza Wiemer Why did Liza love this book?

When Tracy Beaumont’s father is convicted for a murder he didn’t commit, she refuses to accept the verdict. Her unwavering determination to fight the long-standing racism in her small town shows the depth of its hateful history and its horrific impact on her father and family. This unforgettable, heartbreaking, and hopeful novel provides a mirror and window into the courage needed to fight against injustice.

By Kim Johnson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Is My America as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Incredible and searing." --Nic Stone, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Dear Martin

The Hate U Give meets Just Mercy in this unflinching yet uplifting first novel that explores the racist injustices in the American justice system.

Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time--her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy's older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star…


Book cover of A Knock at Midnight: A Story of Hope, Justice, and Freedom

Melinda Lewis Author Of Social Policy for Effective Practice: A Strengths Approach

From my list on igniting students’ passions about policy change.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a policy advocate, grassroots activist, university professor, and author committed to social change—at scale—to advance social work values of racial, economic, environmental, and social justice. Recognizing that most social workers are drawn to our profession because they want to make a difference in the lives of their clients, one by one, I invest my energies and skills to making policy study and practice accessible, relevant, and urgent. My students quickly get used to noting the book recommendations I sprinkle throughout class discussions and in assignment feedback, because when you see the world through a social policy frame, everything has a policy implication! 

Melinda's book list on igniting students’ passions about policy change

Melinda Lewis Why did Melinda love this book?

Social work students are people people, so even with the interactive cases and vignettes that connect policy knowledge to practice, it can be difficult for students planning for a career in interpersonal therapy or crisis intervention to connect emotionally to complex policy topics like Social Security reform, net-zero carbon emissions, or criminal justice reform.

Barnett’s non-fiction title on the latter topic is page-turning and infused with heart. It also relates her activism and community organizing, in service of advancing justice in policing and corrections.

This part of her story helps students see how they, too, can take actions—even as an individual—that bear witness to our values and advance toward a vision of social change.

By Brittany K. Barnett,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Knock at Midnight as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST • NAACP IMAGE AWARD NOMINEE • A “powerful and devastating” (The Washington Post) call to free those buried alive by America’s legal system, and an inspiring true story about unwavering belief in humanity—from a gifted young lawyer and important new voice in the movement to transform the system.

“An essential book for our time . . . Brittany K. Barnett is a star.”—Van Jones, CEO of REFORM Alliance, CNN Host, and New York Times bestselling author 

Brittany K. Barnett was only a law student when she came across the case that would change her…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in miscarriages of justices, Oklahoma, and court trials?

11,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about miscarriages of justices, Oklahoma, and court trials.

Miscarriages Of Justices Explore 16 books about miscarriages of justices
Oklahoma Explore 40 books about Oklahoma
Court Trials Explore 34 books about court trials