Staff Favorites

Ghost of the Innocent Man: A True Story of Trial and Redemption
Benjamin Rachlin
Reviewed by Andrea

The following book review was submitted by patron Janice Gintzler:

I just finished Ghost of the Innocent Man, by Benjamin Rachlin. In 1988, Mr Willie Grimes, of Hickory, North Carolina, is imprisoned after the real culprit of a rape gets off free and eventually attacks a dozen others.

If there is a moral to the story, it is that any District Attorney, police district, or prosecutor who does not act with justice in mind, and sloppily does not test evidence in a national database, nor gives fingerprints in evidence may be putting the community at great risk, by taking the easy way out and summarily fingering an innocent person.

The trial is a sham, the defense attorney is not provided any evidence that police collected, which was not much at all. But two fingerprints are recovered. They match the real real culprit, but are never analyzed to figure out to whom they belong. The main "evidence" is an ID of Willie by the raped woman's neighbor, who gets $1000 for IDing a person she thinks did the rape.

Willie has a watertight alibi, but the jury focuses instead on the paid ID, and convicts Willie.

A woman who was a juror at Willie's trial later becomes a lawyer. Clerking for a judge, she sees evidence of injustice in the court system. So she begins the North Carolina Innocence project. It takes a while, but eventually, the commission she creates turns to those already in jail. Willie Grimes writes to any and all organizations he can to get help with his fake conviction. Chris Mumma, the innocence lawyer, finally hears about Willie. Meanwhile, in prison, Willie joins a Bible Study organized by Jehovah's Witnesses. He is baptized into the religion. This helps him immensely to deal with his life in prison for a crime he never committed. Willie keeps getting penalized for never "coming clean" about his crime in prison.

After 25 years, an investigation begins by the Innocence Project. The investigation is thorough.

Please read this mesmerizing book.

Cylin Busby
Reviewed by Michelle
The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir

  John Busby's VW beetle was infamous because of all the bullet holes it was riddled with after a life-changing incident. An off-duty copy, John was ambushed and shot in the face while in his car. The harrowing story of one family trying to hold it together, and seeking justice is told in alternating viewpoints. 

  John tells his story of recovery, and wanting revenge, while Cylin gives her persepcitve of a 9 year old on the situation. Fearing for their safety, we get a sense of a family on the verge of falling apart. We also see how strong they are together.  Will John and his family get justice for what was done to them? Read this book and find out! It is a fast-paced story you won't be able to put down. 

Kate Karyus Quinn
Reviewed by Michelle

Lennie’s dad is an infamous robber who left her in a Chuck Cheese 11 years ago and then mysteriously disappeared. Now at 17, Lennie is dealing with the untimely death of her best friend. Throw in a couple of uncles who make a magic-wish-granting moonshine and a return from the dead of Lennie’s best friend and you have an interesting story. At first Lennie does not realize how special the moonshine is, so she makes a big “oops!” by supplying it at Michaela Gordon’s party of the year. Unfortunately, for these teens being drunk and making come-true wishes is pretty much a disaster! And let’s not forget to throw in a couple of bad guys/are they really that bad-bad guys?
It is a guarantee that you won’t want to put this book down and Quinn’s unique story-telling abilities will leave you begging for more. Quinn is a master at sarcasm. Lennie is a viable character, it’s hard not to feel for her. Quinn somehow masters humor, with some heartbreaking real life teen-angst. Of course, with any good YA novel, there is a super interesting love-interest subplot. Oh and a surprise ending that will leave you shaking your head but happy you read this book. The title suggests that either Lennie is “down” with Shine in a cool kind of way, or she’s over it. Read the book to find out!

David Perlmutter and Kristin Loberg
Reviewed by Stephanie
Grain Brain

David Perlmutter, MD has degrees in neurology and nutrition. He has put his learning into book form for the rest of us. I “read” the book in audio form in my car. What I learned!
Even if one does not have Celiac disease or manifestations of gluten intolerance, gluten in foods one might eat, that gluten goes straight to your blood stream and brain. Over time, gluten ingestion is likely to result in Alzheimer’s’ disease or dementia.
Perlmutter tells us that no matter how much cholesterol one might eat, that has nothing to do with the cholesterol that one’s body produces. The good news: the brain is 2/3 fat and our brains revel in saturated fat and cholesterol. The doctor states that elderly people with high cholesterol have healthy brains into old age.
But a word about saturated fat: it comes from animal ingestion. Most animals that Americans and the world eat are fed corn and soybeans. Ingestion of those animals fills one’s body with Omega 6, with which our bodies are bombarded in all the cake, cookies, sweets, chips, and junk food that one eats.
Instead, buy butter from cows that were pasture raised. Same for all animals that one eats; if the animal eats grass mostly, the meat will be healthy for us and fill us with Omega-3; same for eggs. No factory farmed chickens, please.

Get the audio book from your library and learn as I did!

Review by Patron, Janice Gintzler