Jameel McGee: “For the next three years not a day went by that I didn’t think about my son who I had never seen and the cop who had kept me from him. And for most of those three years I promised myself that if I ever saw this cop again, I was going to kill him. I intended to keep that promise.”
Andrew Collins: “I watched this angry man march through a crowd, a little boy and another man struggling to keep up with him....The man walked straight up to me, stopped, and stuck out his hand. I took it. “Remember me?” he asked in a tone that sounded more like a threat than a question.
Somehow, a name came to me. ‘Jameel McGee,’ I replied.”
It reads like a gripping crime novel…except this story really happened.
Racial tensions had long simmered in Benton Harbor, a small city on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, before the day a white narcotics officermore focused on arrests than justice—set his sights on an innocent black man. But when officer Andrew Collins framed Jameel McGee for possession of crack cocaine, the surprising result was not a race riot but a transformative journey for both men.
Falsely convicted, McGee spent three years in federal prison. Collins also went to prison a few years later for falsifying police reports. While behind bars, the faith of both men deepened. But the story took its most unexpected turn once they were releasedwhen their lives collided again in a moment brimming with mistrust and anger. The two were on a collision course—not to violence—but forgiveness.
As current as today’s headlines, this explosive true story reveals how these radically conflicted men chose to let go of fear and a thirst for revenge to pursue reconciliation for themselves, their community, and our racially divided nation.
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.30(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.90(d)|
About the Author
Jameel McGee continues to serve as a mentor to Benton Harbor youth. He has previously worked for E.S.S. Emergency Shelter Services, assisting the homeless find housing. Andrew Collins is a former police offer who now is a licensed pastor ministering to youth as part of Young Life. Both men live in Michigan.
Mark Tabb Mark is the New York Times best-selling collaborator and author of more than thirty books, including Mistaken Identity, Running for My Life, and Truth Doesn’t Have a Side.
Read an Excerpt
The crowd parted like the Red Sea. At first I could not see what was happening or why the hundreds gathered in Benton Harbor’s Broadway Park for our church’s Hoops, Hotdogs, and Hip-Hop Festival moved aside so quickly. But then I saw him. I recognized the face but I had trouble putting a name to it. Whoever he was, he was angry, angry enough that the crowd instinctively cleared a path for him. And he was heading straight toward me.
To be honest, I had expected someone like him, in an apparent rage, to come and find me. This was, after all, the first time I’d shown my face in the heart of Benton Harbor since my release from federal prison. A couple of people I’d arrested back when I was a policeman had already found me. I ran into one guy at a mall right before I went to prison. He thanked me for coming clean about what I’d done because it got him out of jail. The rest of these reunions had come after my release. I ran into people at the grocery store and at gas stations and anywhere I went in the area. Some tried to act tough when they first saw me, but they ended up just smiling and laughing because they’d gone free while I went to prison. A couple others had cussed me out for ruining their lives. One guy threatened to get even.
And now this.
I glanced around the park, looking for my five-year-old daughter. Bringing her to the park with me had seemed like a good idea when I left my house.What can go wrong at a block party? I thought. When my daughter asked if she could play on the swings with some other kids, I told her sure, have fun. Who wants to spend a day at the park watching their dad hand out snow cones? Now, as I watched this angry man march through the crowd, a little boy and another man struggling to keep up with him, I wished she were right next to me. Perhaps he might think twice about doing anything in front of a five-year-old girl.
The man walked straight up to me, stopped, and stuck out his hand. I took it. “Remember me?” he asked in a tone that sounded more like a threat than a question.
Somehow a name came to me. “Jameel McGee,” I replied. His grip on my hand tightened when I said his name. I tugged back a little, which only made him grip down that much harder, to the point of pain. I half expected to hear my bones crunch.
I looked closely at Jameel to try to get a read on what he was about to do. While I was a cop I was pretty good at reading people. What I read in Jameel made me even more nervous. His jaw was clinched, the muscles pulsating on the side. I glanced over to the man who had come up behind him. He looked terrified, not of me, but of what was about to happen. Then there was the little boy, who seemed more interested in the snow cones than anything else. He was a little older than my daughter.I hope she doesn’t come over here right now, I thought.
My mind raced. I had to do something to diffuse the growing tension, so I did what I had planned to do in exactly this situation: I apologized. “Jameel, man, I am so sorry for what I did to you. I, er, I was an addict back then, not to drugs, but to my own ego and making a name for myself. That caused me to do a lot of stuff I’m ashamed of now. I was a real messed-up person back then, and unfortunately, people like you paid the price for that. I am so sorry.”
Jameel’s expression did not change. His grip stayed tight on my hand. I couldn’t feel my fingers.
“But I’ve got to tell you,” I continued, “that I’m a new person today. That guy you’re mad at, I’m mad at him too, because, you know, he threw away his career and he left his wife and daughter behind when he went to prison. But that guy’s dead now. He was crucified with Christ. Today, I’m a new creation in Christ. I am a different man, one who is very, very sorry for what I did to you back then.”
The whole time I’m talking, I’m staring at Jameel, looking for some sort of reaction, either good or bad. But there’s nothing. His expression never changes and his grip never loosens.
When I finished my little speech, Jameel huffed a couple of times and sort of shook his head. He bit his lip and looked over toward the little boy, then back at me. Finally, without loosening his grip on my hand even a little bit, he nodded over toward the boy and said, “I need you to tell him why his daddy missed out on three years of his life.”
I felt like I’d been kicked in the stomach. What was I supposed to say tothat? I didn’t have an answer. I couldn’t give him back his time with his son that I had taken away from him. But I also thought perhaps we had made a little progress because he hadn’t punched me in the face yet. I decided to build on that. I now knew the little guy was his son. Jameel is a dad and I am a dad, so I decided to connect with him on a dad-to-dad level. I wanted to let him know I understood his pain and frustration because I had felt it myself. So, like an idiot, I opened my mouth again.
“Jameel, man, I’m sorry. I know how you feel. I missed out on eighteen months of my daughter’s life when I went to prison,” I said.
Immediately, Jameel said, “I don’t care what you missed out on.”
I shut up. You idiot! I shouted at myself in my mind.Why did you bring up your little eighteen-month slap on the wrist when he served three years because of you?
I wanted to disappear, to grab my daughter, jump in my car, get out of Benton Harbor, and never come back. More than anything, I just wanted this to be over, not just my confrontation with Jameel, but all of it. I’d already quit one job when a customer recognized me as the guy who put him in prison and threatened to come back and shoot up the place. How many more times was I going to find myself face to face with someone who blamed me for ruining his life? And when might one of these meetings turn into something from which I could not walk away?
Jameel’s jaw muscles kept flexing. The grip on my hand grew even tighter. He didn’t just look angry. I saw a war going on inside this man, a war I believed was about to spill outside as well. The man with Jameel turned away like he didn’t want to see what was about to go down. I braced myself. It had been a long time since someone had hit me in the face.
I hope my daughter doesn’t see this, I thought.
February 8, 2006
I knew I was taking a chance driving with a suspended license, which was why I was extra careful. I didn’t speed. I didn’t float any stop signs. I signaled before every turn. My taillights and brake lights all worked. The police should not have pulled me over, but this was Benton Harbor, and I am a black man, so I got pulled over anyway. The cop was cool, though. When he ran my license and found out it was suspended because of a couple of unpaid speeding tickets, he could have run me in. But he didn’t. He handed me a ticket and told me to drive home and park my car until I paid my fines.That’s cool. Okay. I can do that. I had no plans for the rest of the day anyway.
Even before the cop pulled me over I had planned on taking care of the tickets soon. A couple of months earlier I made a deal to open a car wash in Michigan City, Indiana, as soon as the weather warmed up in March. Before making the deal, I did a test run. I did more than wash cars. My shop did full-car detailing, both inside and out. I worked twelve hours or more a day, but that was all right with me. Owning my own business and being my own boss had been my dream all my life.
Most of the paperwork was signed, and I had only a few details left to take care of before I opened up the shop for good the next month. The last thing I was going to do was let some unpaid speeding tickets keep me from driving forty minutes each day between Benton Harbor and Michigan City to run my business. I definitely planned to take care of them in time to open my car wash.
After the cop let me leave, I drove over to my grandma’s house where I was staying and decided to just chill for the rest of the day. Some of my cousins were there, along with some of their friends, most of whom I didn’t know. There is always a crowd at my grandma’s house. I’ve got a ton of cousins, and some of them were always around. That wasn’t a big deal for me.
I hooked up my PlayStation 2 and started playing some games. One of my cousins came in and played a couple of games with me. He told me he really liked my game system. “Why don’t you sell it to me?” he asked.
I told him, “No man, I don’t think so.”
“I’ll give you a hundred bucks right now,” he said.
“All right, sold.” I needed the cash to pay off my tickets. Between that and the money I had from a check I’d just cashed from another job, I had about all I needed to pay them off.
After I sold the game to my cousin, we kept on playing. This was pretty much all I had planned for the day until one of my brothers, Buck, called to tell me he’d just talked to my ex.
I’d had a long-term girlfriend, but we had broken up over a year before.
“Yeah, what did she say?” I asked.
“She wants to bring your baby boy over to see you today, this afternoon,” Buck said.
“Wow, man, finally,” I said, excited. My ex and I had dated and then lived together for quite a while. However, things between us started falling apart when we found out she was pregnant. I started working extra-long hours so I could take care of my new family. At the time I worked a couple of different jobs. This was before the opportunity for the car wash came up. She didn’t like my working so much and eventually everything just fell apart. She took off and I had not seen her since. I didn’t even know she’d had the baby until long afterward. This was going to be my first time to see my son.
“Yeah, I know it,” Buck said. “So she’s going to bring him over to see you, and I don’t know, she might leave him with you for the day or maybe a couple of days.”
“Okay,” I said. “I’ll be ready.”
When I hung up the phone I went to my room and changed my clothes and got ready to meet my son for the first time. I was nervous and excited at the same time. I checked out the kitchen and we didn’t have a lot in there. Since I did not know how long I might have my son, I figured I needed to run to the store to pick up a few things. Going to the store presented a real problem. If I drove to the little neighborhood convenience store that was only a half mile from my grandma’s house and got pulled over, I’d probably be arrested for driving with a suspended license. If that happened, there was no way I’d see my son. If my ex showed up and I wasn’t here, she’d leave and not wait for me. But if my ex brought my son over and the cupboard was bare, I might not see him again for a long time either because she would think I was not able to take care of him.
I had to go to the store, but I could not drive. Not a problem, I thought. I had some cousins and their friends there in the house and they had cars. “Any of y’all want to give me a ride to the store real fast?” I asked.
One of the guys in the house, a guy named Will who knew one of my cousins, said, “Yeah. I’m fixing to go. I’ll take you.”
“All right, cool,” I said. I got up to leave right away, which is what I needed to do, but he kept messing around, doing something, I don’t know what. To be honest, I could have walked to the store and back by the time he was finally ready to go. I didn’t say anything because I was the one asking for a ride.
Finally, he said, “You ready? Let’s go.” We drove to the store in his silver Dodge Durango. He drove. I rode in the passenger seat. Will had come over from Detroit, and the back of the car was full of his stuff.
When we pulled up to the store, Will asked me, “Can I borrow your phone?” Actually he asked before we even got to the store.
“Sure, man,” I said. I figured that was the least I could do since he had given me a ride. He parked the car. I handed Will my phone and went into the store. This was not going to be a long shopping trip. I wanted to get in and out and back to my grandma’s house as quickly as possible. For all I knew my ex was already there with my little boy.Little boy! The thought of that caused a smile to break free on my face. I picked up some milk, chips, pop, and gummy worms and went to pay for them. Gummy worms were my thing back then.Will had better be ready to go as soon as I get out of here, I thought. I didn’t have a minute to spare.
Excerpted from "Convicted"
Copyright © 2017 Jameel Zookie McGee.
Excerpted by permission of The Crown Publishing Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Author's Note vii
1 February 8, 2006 5
2 A Good Cop 13
3 Mistaken Identity 21
4 Two Plus Two Equals Four 29
5 Indicted 39
6 Into the Abyss 49
7 Guilty Until Proven Innocent 59
8 Wake-Up Call 71
9 Becoming What They Told Me I Was 81
10 Busted 91
11 Let It Go 101
12 "So You're Guilty, Then?" 111
13 Free at Last 125
14 Facing the Consequences Once and for All 135
15 Trying to Put the Pieces Back Together 145
16 Broadway Park 153
17 Losing It All-Again 163
18 Reunion 173
19 Beyond Forgiveness 183
20 A Friendship Emerges 189
21 It Is Well 199
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This is a novel even though it is based on true happenings. It flows beautifully. You want to like Andrew because he is a cop but you can't since he is dirty. I liked Jameel from beginning to end. I don't know if I could have forgiven Andrew the way that Jameel does but good for him. This book is very intense and it really draws you in. I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
We read the headlines in the local paper as Andrew Collins,a Benton Harbor detective, was indicted for lying on police reports, possessing drugs with intent to sell, and generally being a dishonest cop. I remember the sinking feeling,as a nearby community member, knowing that many drug users and abusers would now be released because of this dishonest cop. What we didn't know, as Paul Harvey used to say, was the rest of the story. Now, almost 11 years later, Andrew Collins has teamed up with one of those people he helped wrongfully convict, Jameel McGee, to write the book, Convicted. It is a story of two men, one black and one white, in a racially divided town(still very racially segregated, in thinking and living quarters). One man, who had power, used it wrongly against the innocent powerless and ruined his life. Yet the powerful is cast down, as well. What God brings out of the ashes is truly unimaginable,again to me as someone who lives nearby. Only God could bring about such change in not one, but two hearts! This is an incredible story of forgiveness that only God can write. I wish everyone in our county, and in any racially charged area could read this story, be drawn to Christ, then ask if he/she is forgiving as Christ commands. These men are leading the way by their example! I received a copy of this book from the publisher, which in no way influenced my opinions,which are solely my own.
This book!! This is not a book I would normally read and I am SO pleased that I read it! The amazing hardships, injustice and general brutally honest look at the lives of these men...is amazing, humbling. It is a book that should be read and shared, especially the way the world is. We need to expose ourselves to these stories. It is a powerful tale and leaves the reader with new perspective on life, hope for humanity, and understanding for how powerful grace in Christ is. Beautiful. Read it.
Everyone in our nation would benefit from reading this candid true story. Racial tension is faced head on and overcome. I quickly became engrossed in their story told from both viewpoints and it only made me want to hear more. These two men openly shared their lives including their mistakes. The road to forgiveness was not easily found but again shared honestly. Reading this book will help others who have been hurt or wronged to begin to see that healing is possible and actually happens in our world today. Convicted could easily be read and discussed in groups and would certainly benefit our young adults. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.
Convicted is a true story written by Mark Tabb in conjunction with the main characters, Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins. It is a story of a string of events that land two men in jail, one guilty and the other innocent. It is a story about doing what is right in one’s own eyes while causing damage to the lives of others. It is about coming to grips with one’s own failure caused by one’s own bad choices. Sadly, blaming others when our choices turn out with dire consequences has become common place throughout society. Andrew Collins was a police officer who began his career for the right reason, to help others. His desire to do so came at a young age, five or six, when he rode in the front seat of a police car after he, his mom, and his little brother were removed from an unsafe situation and taken to a safe place. That one event cemented in his mind a lifelong dream to become a police officer. Unfortunately, he lost sight of the positive aspects of being a policeman and found himself corrupted by the examples set by his fellow law enforcement comrades and eventually convicted of his crimes for which he served time in prison. Jameel McGee was, for the most part, a victim of circumstance. He foolishly chose to ignore his dad’s advice and ended up in jail when he was 15 because he was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong people. History repeated itself later when he was arrested for selling drugs even though he had nothing to do with drugs at all. He hated drugs because his parents had used them when he was young causing him and his siblings to do without food, etc. He knew firsthand the problems being involved with drugs caused. But, he found himself once again in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person. The end result, more jail time. I gave up reading true stories, which have characters who are still living, over 25 years ago. I got too caught up in the events and frustrated by the circumstances that put the characters in the predicaments in which they find themselves. The last true crime story that I read had me ready to call one of the characters up, after finding his phone number in the phonebook, and saying, “What were you thinking?!!! Why weren’t you thinking?!!!” For me, it causes too much stress for something that cannot be undone or for which I would have never had any influence over in the first place. I requested a copy of this book from Blogging for Books, however, because I was in the position of needing to forgive someone who had caused great destruction in our lives as well as in the lives of others and finding myself unable to do so. After reading the description of the book, I thought that if Jameel McGee, who had been so wronged, could forgive Andrew Collins then maybe I’d find some information or guidance from their story that would help me to do the same. I found the book to be quite inspirational and very thought provoking. I cannot say that I have arrived at a point where I have totally forgiven the person who has wreaked such havoc on our lives, but I have found hope that one day I will be able to let this go as did Jameel and accept the new normal that is our life. I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review.
I found this book interesting and encouraging. No, it may not change the world, but it does have a wonderful message and possibly the power to help change one person at a time. It's a moving story of God's grace and forgiveness. There are many injustices in the world, and we will never right them all, because once sin entered the world, only through Christ will racial tensions be brought down, and the hearts of people changed. But because of sin, the world will never be perfect again, until Christ reigns in all His glory. This book can be taken in one of two ways. A person can dwell on the fact that there are crooked cops out there and all the racial injustice, or a person can dwell on the fact that forgiveness is real and does happen! I enjoy true stories of redemption, humility, and how God transforms lives. And this one was worth reading. It jumps back and forth between Jameel and Andrew, telling how each arrived at their current place in life. Its a great example of just how easy it is to either be in the wrong place at the wrong time, or simply by allowing small sins to creep in, we can soon be on a downward spiral to a place we never thought we'd go, doing things we never thought we would do. There were just a few places that were a tad confusing for me on the time-line, but could possibly be something I missed or mis-read. I would recommend this book. I received a copy of this book courtesy of Blogging for Books and Waterbrook to read. I was not asked or required to review this book positively. All opinions are my own.
I read Convicted by Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins with Mark Tabb. Wow – what interested me in this book to begin with is that it occurred within 90 minutes from where I live. I have been to Benton Harbor multiple times so I could picture the scenery as it was described. The authors did a wonderful job bringing the readers to their town. Second, the story itself was so gripping. I couldn’t put it down. I could feel God’s presence throughout the book – it was evident that each man, separately, had a personal encounter with their Heavenly Father that left them changed for the better. I loved how God brought them together and reconciled them in the end. It wasn’t a fairy tale – it was told with honesty, courage and authenticity, the good, bad and ugly. This was a book I highly recommend to others. It’s one that changed me for the good.
Some books just provide entertainment or a diversion from the day to day activities life brings. Others demand thought and emotion, grabbing me by the heartstrings and don't want to let go. This is one of those books. I am still thinking about it and in its grasp. Convicted: A Crooked Cop, an Innocent Man, and an Unlikely Journey of Forgiveness and Friendship is a page turning, engulfing true story by authors Jameel Zookie McGee, Andrew Collins, and Mark Tabb. This is the story of two men and how Jesus worked in their lives to provide healing and forgiveness. Set in Benton Harbor, Michigan and St. Joseph across the river, this story tells of the different lifestyles the two places provide. Convicted is an excellent well researched, written, and organized story. The writing is done in a nice manner. It flowed smoothly and the story definitely held my attention from page one until I finished the book. I ran the gamut of emotions while reading the story, too. Rage, disbelief, love, heartbreak, forgiveness, grace, and everything in between. I cried (and cried) while reading this touching story. This true story is the tale of two men, a white policeman and a black man shopping for food. Their lives intersect at a store in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The shopper, Jameel McGee, was arrested but did not commit the crime. Andrew Collins, the policeman, falsely arrested him for possession of drugs with the intention to distribute. Jameel is obviously angry and disturbed about the unlawful arrest. To be sure that another drug dealer is in jail and off the streets, Officer Collins falsifies his report and lies to the court about Jameel. This sends Jameel to prison for three years. As time goes on, Jameel hears from God and learns to forgive and let go. Andrew on the other hand has continued his bad ways and ends up in prison himself. The lessons learned in this book are relevant in today's society. First off, we need to be honest. God has given us laws to live by and we need to obey them, We need to show grace and forgive others. We can and should, no must, turn to God and ask for His forgiveness first. Healing comes from Him. Redemption comes from God. I would recommend this to everyone. Men and women alike will enjoy this book. Teens, too. This would be a fantastic book club read because it needs to be discussed. I wouldn't be surprised if this isn't made into a movie someday. Definitely a 5 star rating.
Convicted! This is a great book. I wasn't sure as I started reading the book as it is not my usual genre. However, four hours later I was done with the book. The book draws the reader along. An autobiography of two men, one a cop and the other an innocent man with a knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Both end up in prison. While the story leads the reader through a journey of forgiveness and friendship, there was also a point where both men recognized that they had to accept responsibility for their actions and from that true forgiveness and friendship was able to be forged in an extremely racially divided Michigan city.
This is a well written book that goes back and forth between the two main characters - a crooked cop and a man that he sent to prison. I found it very easy to read and enjoyed the story overall. It is based on a true story. Forgiveness is something that we know that we should do but that doesn't come easy for us. This story shows true forgiveness and renewal - God's forgiveness and man's forgiveness. Check it out!
A true story that reads like fiction. From the beginning you get the story from both sides. The theme that runs through the book is how God was present in the major parts of the story. Jameel had every reason in the world to not forgive Andrew for what he did, but through God and his redemptive power in his life Jameel was able to. Andrew was a very bitter cop who felt that he was better then everyone. When his life falls apart he turns to God. These two men together have become a force for good in light of all the negativity into today's world. I recommend that everyone read this book. I was able to read this book prior to it being released through Waterbook Multnomah and this review is my own opinion of the book.
Currently, in this country, the daily newspapers and evening broadcasts are inundated with racial tension, from bullying to murder to removal of Civil War memorials, the tension is thick and it is boiling. Meet Jameel McGee and Andrew Collins, the most unlikely best buddies I've read about in a long time; learn how they overcame the racial tension in Benton Harbor, Lake Michigan. One is a young black man, trying to make his way in Benton Harbor, Lake Michigan; an area well known for its racial tension. The other a white man, a young cop, trying to make his mark in the law enforcement system of Benton Harbor. Seeing the crime that was Benton Harbor, Andrew Collins began to be frustrated by arresting and re-arresting the same drug dealers day in and day out. Becoming disillusioned with the system, Collins begins to slip a little cocaine into arrest scenes; he eventually begins accepting money as he plants bigger stashes of drugs. Drug dealers go to jail, albeit on false charges, but the way Colliins sees it, the dealer is off the streets. Jameel does everything he can to stay out of trouble, especially since he has a young son he would like be involved with but somehow, someway he keeps ending up in the wrong places at the wrong time. His arresting officer? Andrew Collins. Based on a true story, read how the grace of God leads these 2 men down the most improbable course to meet again.... right back in Benton Harbor, Lake Michigan. Convicted reads like a novel. Inspired by this true story of redemption, I am hoping that someday I will be privileged to meet both Jameel and Andrew.
Convicted is not an easy book to read. Its subject matter is gritty and heart-breaking, but it is remarkable in its message of forgiveness, mercy, and healing. This true story is told by both Jameel McGee, an innocent man wrongly convicted, and Andrew Collins, the cop who falsified reports that put Jameel in prison wrongly. Their story of finding Christ and healing from their experiences is inspirational and moving. I would recommend this book to those who enjoy Christian nonfiction. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Read 2 times. Last read August 21, 2017 to August 23, 2017. This is a novel even though it is based on true happenings. It flows beautifully. You want to like Andrew because he is a cop but you can't since he is dirty. I liked Jameel from beginning to end. I don't know if I could have forgiven Andrew the way that Jameel does but good for him. This book is very intense and it really draws you in. I received a copy of this book from Waterbrook Multnomah for a fair and honest opinion that I gave of my own free will.
Convicted is a thoroughly enjoyable read. Written as a double autobiography it tells the dual stories of Andrew Collins and Jameel McGee. The first a police officer who is cutting corners and breaking the rules, and the second an innocent man caught up in Collins wake. From the beginning we know Collins is crooked and McGee is innocent; it says so on the cover of the book. We are not taken on their journeys to discover this. What we learn, are the motivations and emotions behind the decisions each man makes and the fallout of those decisions. We grow to care about each of these men. They are not cardboard cutouts, they are real people. Neither of their lives fit into neat packages. We get to see the good and bad of each of them. Structurally, I like the way that the two stories run in parallel and so we get to see what each one is doing and thinking along the way. I was most interested to learn how there could not just be forgiveness but also a genuine friendship between these two very different men. That part of their story is only possible by genuine heart change brought about by each man's spiritual journey. It is touching without being sappy and I appreciate that. For those who question whether or not there is hope for their own situation; and if God can bring anything good from injustice, this book is a shining example and a hope for all of us. Highly recommended. Note: I received an advance copy of this book for my unbiased review.
What a powerful story and it's true which makes it even more powerful. So much I can say about this book. First, it takes place in Michigan. I have driven by Benton Harbor once on my way to St. Joseph. Milan, MI is mentioned in this book and that isn't far from me. Crazy to think about these places I have heard about and read about them in a book. This is such an encouraging story of forgiveness and Genesis 5020 all over it. God using something that could have destroyed these men but they are using it for good and to share God's word. This truly does read like a novel but it's not. It really is a book you don't want to put down and you want to keep reading. I highly recommend this one. A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher. All opinions are my own.