Customer Reviews for

The Innocence Game

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    Love his writing

    Michael Harvey tells a story that keeps you guessing. I am a big fan of his series, but this novel is a nice stand-alone.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 8, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Michael Harvey has portrayed the city of Chicago and its environ

    Michael Harvey has portrayed the city of Chicago and its environs in past novels to wonderful effect, and in his newest novel, a standalone, he does so once again. The tale is told from the 1st person p.o.v. of Ian Joyce, one of three graduate students chosen for a highly sought-after spot in a seminar at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism (considered one of the best in the world), run by a three-time Pulitzer-winning journalist, Judy Zombrowski. (“You can call me Z.”) The seminar, which she has been teaching for more than a decade, is called The Innocence Project, apparently based on an actual program in Chicago and a similar one in New York City, whose purpose is “to work on wrongful convictions . . . [of] men who’ve been sentenced to death for crimes they didn’t commit.”

    The three students chosen are Ian, Jake Havens (a brilliant law-school grad) and Sarah Gold, a beautiful girl who had gone through under-grad school with Ian. The case they choose (well, actually, it’s Jake who chooses it) is that of a man convicted of killing a ten-year-old boy in Chicago 14 years earlier who, almost parenthetically, had been killed in prison 14 months after being incarcerated. As Jake says, defending his choice, “Does the fact that he’s dead make him any less innocent?” The young men are discovered to be more complex than they first appear, with their own secrets. But the three turn out to be a great team, each bringing his or her own compulsions to the task, with intriguing results. Their search into old murders morphs into the discovery of others not nearly as old. As the 3 J-School students pursue their investigation, trouble seems to follow them, including and not limited to break-ins and arson.

    The credo that Z has instilled in them is that above all, their job is to find out the truth. Along the way, they discover several other things, among them: “‘Playing a hunch’ is what journalists in the movies called it. Felt like fishing without a pole;” “In a splintered moment, we knew more about each other than we could in a million lifetimes” and, when corruption on several different levels is found, “This is Chicago we’re talking about. Cops, detectives, prosecutors. I know you’re a smart young man . . . “

    Suspenseful from the start, the last third of the novel becomes much more than “just” a page-turner, when I found that I could not put the book down until the final page, with an ending this reader absolutely did not see coming. It is highly recommended.

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