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The Innocence Game

by Michael Harvey

The Innocence Game by Michael Harvey

Review: Three Northwestern University graduate students — Ian Joyce, Sarah Gold and Jake Havens — have been accepted into the Medill School of Journalism for an exclusive summer course called the "innocence seminar". The course objective is to research old criminal cases to determine if an innocent person has been found guilty and punished for a crime that they did not commit. On the first day of the class, Jake produces an envelope containing a crumbled, blood-soaked scrap of material said to be a piece of the shirt that Skylar Wingate, a ten year old boy, was wearing when James Harrison murdered him fourteen years ago. Harrison was found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. There is also an anonymous note with the case number and a confession to the crime. The students' problem: the alleged killer was found guilty, sentenced to prison, and within fourteen months had died by the hand of another prisoner. The course professor, Judy "Z" Zombrowsky sees no reason to pursue this purported new piece of evidence. But, Jake believes that, if found to be true, it strongly suggests there is still a killer out there. Their new class assignment: find the killer, in The Innocence Game, a stand-alone novel of suspense by Michael Harvey.

This is a very satisfying mystery novel, with a seemingly never ending sequence of twists and turns that keep the reader asking, "What's next?". The three graduate students are well drawn, and uniquely defined: Ian with the thoroughness of his effort, Sarah the droll relief, and Jake the intense go-getter. The frequently acerbic and entertaining "Z" contributes a nice balance to the trio. The Chicago setting — the picturesque campus of Northwestern University and the icy waters of Lake Michigan to the dark and dangerous corners of the city itself — adds a strong backdrop to the action. But through it all, the story poses an intriguing question: Is it possible to prove the innocence of a convicted man by suggesting a dead man is the guilty party? This is a solidly crafted crime novel, well worth seeking out.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of The Innocence Game.

Acknowledgment: Random House provided a copy of The Innocence Game for this review.

Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …

Mystery Book Review: The Third Rail by Michael HarveyThe Third Rail
Knopf (Hardcover), April 2010
ISBN-13: 9780307272508; ISBN-10: 0307272508

Location(s) referenced in The Innocence Game: Chicago, Illinois

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The Innocence Game by Michael Harvey

The Innocence Game by

Publisher: Knopf
Format: Hardcover
ISBN-13: 978-0-307-96125-9
Publication Date:
List Price: $24.95

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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews

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