Burned: A Story of Murder and the Crime That Wasn't

Dutton. Jan. 2019. 320p. bibliog. index. ISBN 9781524742133. $28; ebk. ISBN 9781524742140. CRIME
OrangeReviewStarPulitzer Prize-winning author Humes (Garbology) presents the gripping story of Joann Parks, a young mother accused of intentionally setting the fire that claimed the lives of her three young children. Written in narrative format, Humes's work explores the conflicting accounts presented by witnesses on the night of the blaze, the subsequent investigation, and eventual conviction of Parks, which comes into question more than 20 years into her sentence. Although the fire was initially thought to have been caused by faulty wiring, investigators cite evidence that Parks had tampered with the wires, leading to her life sentence without parole. Considering new advances in forensic science, the California Innocence Project has taken on Parks's case in the hopes that overturning this VERDICT may lead to a reexamination of other cases involving wrongful convictions.
VERDICT This sobering, enlightening read is true crime at its best, with just the right blend of justice and intrigue that will leave readers searching for truth in the criminal justice system. Fans of the genre can expect to be drawn into this story.
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