By Michael Harvey
Alfred A. Knopf, 241 pages, $24.95
In The Innocence Game, Graduate students enrolled in a criminology seminar at Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism find themselves immersed in a pool of police corruption when they attempt to link several child murders to one killer. The cases are especially sticky because someone has already been convicted in one of the slayings. Author Michael Harvey adroitly explores the psychology behind the characters’ motivations and keeps his readers guessing right up to the end. Rarely can a book have so many twists and turns without seeming contrived, but Harvey pulls it off with eloquence and authenticity. Harvey’s characters are real and complex and anyone who has attended graduate school will relate to the trust issues the author brings to light and the cat and mouse relationships between instructors and students.
“At the end of the day, they confiscated twenty-three dollars I had in my pocket and another eight in singles they found in the center console as “possible drug money.” They also took an empty gas can, a Cubs cooler with three warm beers in it, and all of the paperwork from the backseat. The white detective leaned on the hood of my car and wrote receipts for the confiscated property.”
The story takes the readers from the back alleys of Chicago to the waters of Lake Michigan and lends credibility to the preposterous notion that crime scene evidence can be planted and not all cops are the good guys. A great read for crime buffs and anyone who is frustrated with the criminal justice system!
Reviewed by Sheli Ellsworth