These are the RealVail archived files. Please visit our new site:
MM_XSLTransform error.
Error opening
Book Review: Angel of Death Row
“Angel of Death Row” by Andrea D. Lyons, foreword by Alan M. Dershowitz - c.2010, Kaplan Publishing - $24.95 / $30.95 Canada - 267 pages

Book Review: Angel of Death Row

By Terri Schlichenmeyer

January 27, 2010 —  You thought you knew your rights.

You’ve seen every episode of “Perry Mason” and “CSI” and watched plenty of courtroom-drama movies. You’re pretty well-versed on criminal justice. You know what goes on in front of a judge.

So when you were arrested, you figured you’d be back at work, quick-like. No big deal. You didn’t do whatever they say you did, you have a lawyer, and you’re innocent until proven guilty, right?

Wrong. And in some states, that cockiness can get you killed, as you’ll see in “Angel of Death Row” by Andrea D. Lyons (foreword by Alan M. Dershowitz – c.2010, Kaplan Publishing – $24.95 / $30.95 Canada – 267 pages).

Growing up in Chicago, Andrea Lyons was far from popular. She was the “smart girl” who corrected teachers and always had a book in her hand. Her assertive nerdiness made her the butt of jokes and teasing, which in turn gave her empathy for the underdog. Later, with a nod toward that empathy, she became a lawyer.

On a brazenly-gotten job interview, Lyons landed a job with the Public Defender’s Office. Within a year, she found her legal niche: the Homicide Task Force inside the Public Defender’s Office in Chicago. The Force was a man’s world for sure, but Lyons quite handily proved herself.

Throughout her career, Lyons worked to save the lives of people in Illinois and Michigan who lived under sentence of death. Eventually, hoping to “replace” herself, job-wise, she became a teacher in order to pass her knowledge on.

While the names of clients have been changed, Lyons weaves personal biography with passionate work by recalling some of her most-memorable cases in this book...

Annette Gaines faced execution, charged with slamming a fist into her toddler’s stomach and killing the girl. With careful sleuthing, Lyons proved that abuse didn’t kill the child and that Annette was innocent.

Richard Bauman was also facing certain death, but before he agreed to allow Lyons to save his life, he demanded that she discuss classic literature with him. Astonished, Lyons turned his erudition into a way to connect with jurors.

And then there was Deirdre Jennings who sat in a Michigan jail, accused of a murder she didn’t commit. While the case against her was weak, Jennings was caught in a judicial loophole that Lyons – with a fresh look – untied.

Think you’ve seen everything you need to know about courtroom trial? No, you haven’t seen anything until you’ve read this book.

Author Andrea D. Lyons is feisty and can see the humor in many situations, but she’s dead serious about saving the lives of men and women on death row, which makes this book both pleasant to read and an edge-of-your-seat real-life scare. Lyons explains what goes on behind-the-scenes in a life-or-death trial and in doing so, also explains why she works to save criminals that most people don’t think are worth saving.

No matter on which side of the death penalty fence you sit, if you’re looking for a book with humanity and heart, look for this one. For true crime or detective-TV fans, “Angel of Death Row” is positively heavenly.



Comment on article  2 Comments on "Book Review: Angel of Death Row"


BA — January 27, 2010

I agree with this writer's assessment of Professor Lyon's (by the way it is Lyon and not Lyons) compelling writing. It IS a difficult book to put down.


Tim Brazier — January 28, 2010

In the interest of full discloser I'm working on this book but I almost missed my subway stop when I first read it because I was so engrossed and moved by Andrea's stories.



Comment Form Info  Comment Information
RealVail encourages you to post comments on our articles and blogs. Name and email are required for monitoring purposes. Your email will not be published and will not be distributed to any 3rd-party. Abusive, obscene, profane, threatening, libelous or defamatory comments are prohibited. By posting a comment, you agree to this policy and our terms of use. To report an abusive posting, please contact us.

Please enter the case-sensitive letters you see in the left box to prove that you are human and indeed reading this page. This prevents spam and malicious attacks. Click the refresh icon to refresh words.

To comment or contact us, please visit our new site at Snow Report Ticker

more new stories...

more new stories...

more resort guides...