In a Boston swirling with racial tensions and public corruption, a story of false imprisonment based in fact, from a longtime investigative journalist.
The case at hand: the murder of 13-year-old Ruby Graham, a casualty of gang warfare in the Roxbury neighborhood of Boston. “I know he didn’t do it,” says Van Trell Taylor, Romero Taylor’s 14-year-old daughter. She cherishes the connection she is able to maintain with her father, imprisoned when she was just a baby, despite the overwhelming constraints placed by the prison system and a local media incentivized to paint him as a monster. The family reaches out to Nora Walsh, a white woman from the projects and an upstart criminal defense lawyer with a growing reputation for toughness. They must scrutinize the details and fight against public opinion in order to free an innocent man. Lehr covered the inspiring true story behind this one as a journalist and brings to light many of the important details not only of the case, but of the public conversation that surrounded Boston at the time—and does to this day; this important dialogue is still ongoing. Yet the seemingly omniscient perspective of this veteran white male journalist squeezed through the voice of young, black Van Trell Taylor leaves readers questioning who’s really telling the story here.
This tale of the fallout from the war on drugs recognizes one family’s resolve as it hammers home the failures of public policy and the court system to uphold justice for all. (Historical fiction. 12-16)