What would you do if your child was murdered?
What would you do if your child was convicted of murder?
Alice Goodman has known great loss. Since the brutal murder of her daughter Madeline decades earlier, she has tirelessly fought to see the killer pay for his crime. Now, after twenty years, the day has arrived that she will witness his long-delayed execution. Will justice finally be done? Will she finally find the peace that has long eluded her?
Lori Williams knows she was not the perfect mother, but she never believed her son Mark could be guilty of the crime that placed him on death row. Confronting every challenge along the way, she refused to give up her pursuit of the truth—a truth she believed would set her son free. Will it be enough?
Both women are fighting for a justice they believe has been denied their children. Now, their lives are on a collision course with each other, but neither is quite prepared for the truth.
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“A deeply moving story of one mother’s journey to forgiveness that may change the way you view the death penalty. Beautifully written, honestly presented, compassionately offered, ‘The Last Verdict’ will bring you into a complex world of pain and struggle but also grace and hope.” -James Martin, SJ, author of Jesus: A Pilgrimage
“A gripping truth-thriller. Arpin-Ricci has created a stunning novella that raises all the right questions about life, death, and grace.” -Shane Claiborne, author of Executing Grace: How the Death Penalty Killed Jesus and Why It’s Killing Us
“Few books have ever moved me the way that this one did. I don’t have to wait for what else comes out. This is the most creative book of the year on the death penalty. I was so deeply touched that I threw the book up in the air in jubilation. The Last Verdict is now one of my go to titles when people ask me to recommend a book about the death penalty.” -Rev. Dr. Jeff Hood, activist, pastor & author of “Jesus on Death Row”
“As the 100th person in the United States to be exonerated after being sentenced to death for a murder I didn’t commit, reading ‘The Last Verdict’ resurrected memories and emotions that can never be fully put to rest. Jamie Arpin-Ricci has skillfully taken the reader inside the hearts and minds of the loved ones of the condemned, as well as those of the victim. Revenge and justice are often thought of as interchangeable, and Jamie has brought that error into clear focus with this novella. An insightful look at the ever-widening ripples caused by a murder, ‘The Last Verdict’ provides the reader with an opportunity to experience the impact on those most immediately affected. Jamie has effectively avoided the temptation to simplify the modern interpretation of “an eye for an eye”. A fictional account of an all too common occurrence, ‘The Last Verdict’ offers no easy answers, but raises questions that must be asked. No matter what your stance on this difficult topic, ‘The Last Verdict’ is a must-read.” -Ray Krone, death penalty abolitionist & the 100th inmate exonerated from death row since the death sentence was reinstated in 1976
“Jamie Arpin-Ricci aims for and reaches higher ground in this book, bringing surprise, insight and a startling humanity to a subject from which too many too easily avert their eyes. Step up to ‘The Last Verdict’. You’ll profit from doing so.” -Mike Farrell, author, activist & actor.
“A powerful exploration, forcing the reader to ponder some key questions in the death penalty debate: family, guilt, revenge, mercy, justice. ‘The Last Verdict’ will stimulate passionate discussion.” –Julian McMahon, Barrister for Van Tuong Nguyen and members of the Bali Nine.
“Shot through with images and phrases that reach to the heart, ‘The Last Verdict’ helps carry readers on the journey taken by two mothers- of the victim, and of the killer. It paints a picture of the devastating aftermath of murder, and how its impact never leaves those affected. It receives our enthusiastic endorsement.” –The World Coalition Against the Death Penalty
“In this beautifully written story of heartache and forgiveness, Arpin-Ricci takes the horrific loss of wrongful conviction and tells a story that may very well change the way we view the death penalty and final justice. I loved ‘The Last Verdict’, putting a voice to the words I could never find.” –Mary Puckett, mother of Mississippi death row inmate Matthew Puckett, executed in 2012
“Arpin-Ricci takes on the death-penalty by telling a story of anguished heartbreak in both the family of the victim and of the accused perpetrator who is put to death. In ‘The Last Verdict’, the reader is reminded of the lethal and tragic consequences of the truism ‘to err is human’ and how that plays out in our judicial system when potentially innocent lives are at stake.” -Rev. Paul Brandeis Raushenbush Senior Vice President, Public Engagement, Auburn Theological Seminary