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In his acclaimed career as a perennial bestselling author, Richard North Patterson has established himself as one of our most important voices in fiction and a keeper of the American conscience. He consistently writes novels that are intensely dramatic and deeply thought provoking. Now, in Conviction, Patterson tackles one of the most emotional and complex of all legal debates: When, if ever, does the state have the right to exact the ultimate punishment–and is the death penalty a crime unto itself?
Fifty-nine days. That's how long Rennell Price has to live–after spending fifteen years on death row for the horrifying sexual assault and murder of a girl whose body was found floating in San Francisco Bay. But attorney Terri Paget, who has fought her own way out of hopelessness and abuse, has dedicated her life to fighting for people like Rennell Price. This time, Terri has a client she believes may actually be innocent, which means that an unpunished killer may still be free.
"I didn't do that little girl" is all Rennell Price has ever said in his own defense. In a trial, Rennell, along with his older brother, Payton, was found guilty of the heinous crime, and the Conviction has been upheld through one appeal after another. But as Terri spends time with Rennell and re-creates the events that put him on death row–beginning with the first minutes of the police investigation–she starts to understand the forces that shaped Rennell and the reason he has never been able to defend himself adequately.
As Terri prepares for a last appeal, she gets a new weapon for her battle–fresh evidence suggesting that another man, not Rennell, helped Payton commit the atrocity. But the grim machinery of capital punishment is already in motion, involving precedent and politics reaching from California to the highest court in the nation. As more people are drawn into Terri's last-ditch battle, and as agendas and personalities clash while time is running out for Rennell Price, this much is clear: The serious doubts about Rennell's guilt may not be enough to save him.
Conviction raises issues of ethics, political expediency, and personal trauma that will shake readers to their core. For here, in a novel of vivid characters on both sides of the law and profound tension on every page, Patterson illuminates the mysterious precincts between justice and truth–where the fate of one man involves not only his own life and the lives he has affected but the moral life of a nation.
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The Random House Publishing Group