by Damien Echols
Blue Rider Press,US $26.95
What is it about?
Damien Echols was one of the West Memphis Three, found guilty of the murder of three boys in Arkansas in 1993. He spent 18 years on death row, before being freed in 2011. This book is made up of his prison journals, his memories and his post-jail writing.
Why are we talking about it?
Though perhaps best known for his celebrity defenders, including Henry Rollins, Eddie Vedder, "Lord of the Rings" director Peter Jackson, and Johnny Depp (who has a tattoo designed by Echols), and for being the subject of the "Paradise Lost" documentaries, the book itself is a compelling, disturbing tale of persecution and prison life.
Who wrote it?
Damien Echols, born Michael Wayne Hutchison, is now 38 years old. While in jail, he converted to Zen Buddhism, met and married his wife (who had seen a documentary about the murders, and wrote to him in prison), and was repeated beaten by the guards. He now works as a writer, artist and advocate for prison reform.
Who will read it?
Echols has a cult online following. Beyond that, fans of his celebrity supporters, people interested in his case, and the state of the American prison system are likely readers.
What do the reviewers say?
Click here to read more