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Mississippi Reckoning

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From a lawyer who got his real-life client off death row comes a thriller about an attorney who did not. "Riveting . . . a stirring story" (Kirkus Reviews) of a tortured man's quest to right the scales of justice--by assassinating KKK murderers. After witnessing his client's death in the gas chamber, attorney Gideon Roth is shattered. His career, marriage and life collapse From a lawyer who got his real-life client off death row comes a thriller about an attorney who did not. "Riveting . . . a stirring story" (Kirkus Reviews) of a tortured man's quest to right the scales of justice--by assassinating KKK murderers. After witnessing his client's death in the gas chamber, attorney Gideon Roth is shattered. His career, marriage and life collapse as he is overcome with guilt and despair. But soon he finds new purpose in life: he will drive to Mississippi to revisit the scenes of his youth--and to slay the Klavern members who got away with murdering civil rights workers 30 years earlier. This thriller recounts the confrontations that beset Gideon along his journey for vigilante justice, and the challenge a Mississippi police chief faces as he seeks to intercept a would-be assassin without knowing his name, age, race, appearance or even the sound of his voice. "A heart-pounding, soul-wrenching narrative, in which the evils of a bygone era remain invisibly amongst us--shadows of past suffering, fostering the cruelest tragedies of today." - Federal judge and civil rights pioneer Thelton Henderson John Grisham meets Richard Wright: During the road trip to Mississippi, flashbacks unfold the personal histories that set Gideon on his path of vengeance: Gideon's days as a young civil rights worker, and his journey from idealistic youth to cynical Silicon Valley lawyer The killer's family saga, a tale of racial oppression and resistance, and the horrors of a childhood that turned an innocent child into a brutal killer The doomed struggle to overcome a legal system skewed toward death, and Gideon's fraught relationship with his condemned African American client. "A powerful book! Mississippi Reckoning takes you on a trip that will leave you reeling--and thinking." - Mike Farrell, star of M*A*S*H


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From a lawyer who got his real-life client off death row comes a thriller about an attorney who did not. "Riveting . . . a stirring story" (Kirkus Reviews) of a tortured man's quest to right the scales of justice--by assassinating KKK murderers. After witnessing his client's death in the gas chamber, attorney Gideon Roth is shattered. His career, marriage and life collapse From a lawyer who got his real-life client off death row comes a thriller about an attorney who did not. "Riveting . . . a stirring story" (Kirkus Reviews) of a tortured man's quest to right the scales of justice--by assassinating KKK murderers. After witnessing his client's death in the gas chamber, attorney Gideon Roth is shattered. His career, marriage and life collapse as he is overcome with guilt and despair. But soon he finds new purpose in life: he will drive to Mississippi to revisit the scenes of his youth--and to slay the Klavern members who got away with murdering civil rights workers 30 years earlier. This thriller recounts the confrontations that beset Gideon along his journey for vigilante justice, and the challenge a Mississippi police chief faces as he seeks to intercept a would-be assassin without knowing his name, age, race, appearance or even the sound of his voice. "A heart-pounding, soul-wrenching narrative, in which the evils of a bygone era remain invisibly amongst us--shadows of past suffering, fostering the cruelest tragedies of today." - Federal judge and civil rights pioneer Thelton Henderson John Grisham meets Richard Wright: During the road trip to Mississippi, flashbacks unfold the personal histories that set Gideon on his path of vengeance: Gideon's days as a young civil rights worker, and his journey from idealistic youth to cynical Silicon Valley lawyer The killer's family saga, a tale of racial oppression and resistance, and the horrors of a childhood that turned an innocent child into a brutal killer The doomed struggle to overcome a legal system skewed toward death, and Gideon's fraught relationship with his condemned African American client. "A powerful book! Mississippi Reckoning takes you on a trip that will leave you reeling--and thinking." - Mike Farrell, star of M*A*S*H

39 review for Mississippi Reckoning

  1. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    Mitchell Zimmerman has crafted a solid, suspenseful, and above all, thought-provoking drama about a civil rights lawyer struggling with questions of justice and accountability as he enters on a path to mete out punishment by his own hand. The action begins as protagonist Gideon Roth, a successful, late-career Silicon Valley lawyer who has been providing bro bono legal representation to a death row client, must witness the client's execution after all appeals have been unsuccessful. Roth is undon Mitchell Zimmerman has crafted a solid, suspenseful, and above all, thought-provoking drama about a civil rights lawyer struggling with questions of justice and accountability as he enters on a path to mete out punishment by his own hand. The action begins as protagonist Gideon Roth, a successful, late-career Silicon Valley lawyer who has been providing bro bono legal representation to a death row client, must witness the client's execution after all appeals have been unsuccessful. Roth is undone by the event, and in his ensuing mental turmoil, his anguish over his inability to save his client calls up and mixes in with recollections of his time spent as a civil rights volunteer in Mississippi in 1964, at the time of the infamous murders of three young civil rights workers by the Ku Klux Klan. These two cases are strongly linked in the novel by the realities and history of race and justice in the US. The death row client, Kareem Jackson, is certainly guilty of a shockingly violent crime, but the deeper facts of the case and the client's life demonstrate some antecedents to the crime, and Roth is tormented by the fact that while these should mitigate for justice for Jackson, he receives no leniency, while at the same time, known perpetrators of racist killings have not only gone unpunished for decades but have even been protected by the state. As Roth sets out in his anguished state on a road trip from the West Coast to Mississippi, with the ultimate goal of confronting one of the Klan killers and killing him himself, the novel directs itself at difficult questions of guilt and justification, and what justice means, especially when the justice system seems singularly incapable of carrying out. None of this is done in a preachy or lecturing way, but rather plays out through the characters' struggles and ultimately is reflected in the reader's own reaction to Roth's vigilante mission. Along the way, the narrative goes through multiple shifts in time frames, not only recounting the events surrounding the 1964 civil rights murders, but also recollecting significant moments in Kareem Jackson's personal history that background the actions that ultimately led to his execution. Zimmerman does a more than capable job of managing the multiple timeframes, with seamless transitions so the reader never gets lost in the timeline. The sections on Jackson even go far beyond Jackson's own personal history, including the history of his grandfather and father, which serves to paint a vivid picture of racial violence, injustice, and trauma with generational psychological and economic implications. However, as important as it is to shed light on these historical realities, at the same time this extended history is a bit overdone: Jackson and his family did not have to personally suffer every historical injustice visited on African Americans in the US in order for his punishment to be unjust. By far, the best part of the novel is the recounting of Gideon's time in the civil rights movement, in particular during those fateful early days of the 1964 Freedom Summer when civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were kidnapped and murdered by the Ku Klux Klan near Philadelphia, Mississippi. Zimmerman puts his protagonist right in the middle of the action, leaving the reader inevitably to imagine what it was like for the young people who did experience that in real time — the fear, the uncertainty, mixed with a sense of mission and a youthful belief in the possibility of change, even in the face of such dangerous odds. Happening when it did, right at he beginning of the Freedom Summer, when over a thousand mostly college-student volunteers arrived in Mississippi with the aim of getting as many African Americans registered to vote and engaged in political action as possible, the attack on the civil rights workers was a brutally eye-opening moment for many of the volunteers, not to mention the ordinary people who watched the news unfold around the country, about just how life-and-death the stakes really were.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Elise Rosenhaupt

    I highly recommend Mississippi Reckoning. In this complex novel, several timelines dance around each other: We know a good deal about Gideon, the attorney, after we learn his history as a young man in the Civil Rights movement. And we travel, in the novel’s present, alongside Gideon as he sets out to deliver justice too long denied. We even come to understand Kareem, the murderer whose execution starts the novel. We understand Kareem because we learn his history, starting with his grandfather’s c I highly recommend Mississippi Reckoning. In this complex novel, several timelines dance around each other: We know a good deal about Gideon, the attorney, after we learn his history as a young man in the Civil Rights movement. And we travel, in the novel’s present, alongside Gideon as he sets out to deliver justice too long denied. We even come to understand Kareem, the murderer whose execution starts the novel. We understand Kareem because we learn his history, starting with his grandfather’s coming home to a Mississippi that robs him of the dignity he earned in World War II. Sections of Mississippi Reckoning are harrowing – Kareem’s story is told in brutal detail. At times, it is painful to read. It’s hard for a writer to make transitions in time work well, and Zimmerman weaves his many timelines together masterfully. The answer to that important question about any book, Do you care about the central character? is, by the novel’s end, a resounding Yes. Do you want to know what will happen to him? Yes. And, Is there a satisfying resolution? Yes. Who will want to read this book? 1. those who remember the civil rights movement of the 1960s; 2. those who want to better understand that movement; 3. those who wonder how people can commit monstrous crimes; 4. those ready to go deeper into understanding their own privilege by taking a hard look at what others face; and, of course, 5. those who love edge of the seat thrillers. Elise Rosenhaupt, author of Climbing Back: A Family's Journey through Brain Injury

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mary Anne Reed

    Very well written. Slow in some parts but a great book overall.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Joan

    The author of this engrossing novel interweaves 2 stories about racism, Poverty and violence in America. One is about attorney Gideon Roth’s defense of Kareem, a black prisoner on death row. Over the years, Kareem reveals how he was brutalized in his youth and sustained brain damage. Although he is in prison for committing a heinous crime, should he be executed or given a life sentence without parole? Is being executed morally wrong? Does society condone revenge? The other story takes Gideon back in The author of this engrossing novel interweaves 2 stories about racism, Poverty and violence in America. One is about attorney Gideon Roth’s defense of Kareem, a black prisoner on death row. Over the years, Kareem reveals how he was brutalized in his youth and sustained brain damage. Although he is in prison for committing a heinous crime, should he be executed or given a life sentence without parole? Is being executed morally wrong? Does society condone revenge? The other story takes Gideon back in time when he was part of the civil rights struggle in Mississippi in 1964. He participated in many demonstrations against the racism of segregation and was deeply affected by the murders of 3 civil rights workers, Chaney, Goodman and Schwerner, perpetrated by the KKK, which took place that year. Many of these murderers got off with a light sentence, which infuriated Gideon who then decided to get justice on his own. This novel will keep you engaged for a long time.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Laura Foner

    This engrossing and haunting novel weaves together several key historical periods to tell the stories of two men: one (Kareem) facing death by execution for murder and one (Gideon) struggling with whether to commit murder as a way to rebalance the scales of justice. As we travel with Gideon on his moral and physical journey, we are asked to look at big questions of race, responsibility, guilt, revenge and redemption. Including elements of suspense, historical fiction, and road trip genres, Missi This engrossing and haunting novel weaves together several key historical periods to tell the stories of two men: one (Kareem) facing death by execution for murder and one (Gideon) struggling with whether to commit murder as a way to rebalance the scales of justice. As we travel with Gideon on his moral and physical journey, we are asked to look at big questions of race, responsibility, guilt, revenge and redemption. Including elements of suspense, historical fiction, and road trip genres, Mississippi Reckoning will stay with long after the last page.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Danae Woods

    "Mississippi Reckoning" sets a standard of attentiveness to the main character's viewpoints. However lethal his stance, Gideon justifies it in his own mind.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mitchell Zimmerman

  8. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Ladewig

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kathi

  10. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Weisman

  11. 4 out of 5

    Laura Short

  12. 4 out of 5

    Valerie Dawson

  13. 5 out of 5

    Matt

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Smith

  15. 5 out of 5

    Themnesgmail.Com

  16. 4 out of 5

    Shelton

  17. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  18. 5 out of 5

    Shawn

  19. 5 out of 5

    Mitchell Zimmerman

  20. 5 out of 5

    gale m lanham

  21. 5 out of 5

    MaryLou Torpey

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

  23. 5 out of 5

    Aaron

  24. 5 out of 5

    Estelle

  25. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kristen

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sue

  28. 4 out of 5

    Adam

  29. 5 out of 5

    Doris Gourbere

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sherri Livingston

  31. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  32. 4 out of 5

    DeLarme

  33. 5 out of 5

    Hugh Rosenberg

  34. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

  35. 5 out of 5

    Colleen

  36. 4 out of 5

    Jaynie

  37. 5 out of 5

    Michele

  38. 4 out of 5

    Divya Sundar

  39. 4 out of 5

    Rel

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