In For Life

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A book review of In For Life: A Journey into Murder, Corruption, and Friendship by Elaine Alice Murphy

A book review of In For Life: A Journey into Murder, Corruption, and Friendship by Elaine Alice Murphy

Stars: ****

Satuit Press (2021)
True Crime/Memoir
496 pages

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This post contains affiliate links.

Summary: Sean K. Ellis was convicted in 1995 – at his third trial, after two prior hung juries – of the murder and robbery of Boston detective John J. Mulligan. Mulligan was white, Sean is Black. Age nineteen at the time of his crime, Sean insisted he was innocent. He was sentenced to life in prison without parole.

Elaine Alice Murphy learned of Sean’s conviction and was shocked to recognize him as her son Mark’s former classmate. A decade earlier he’d been bussed from Boston to the Murphys suburban school district through a racial integration program. Sean and Mark had been best friends.

Stricken to think that the gentle boy she remembered would die in prison an innocent man, Murphy joined his family and lawyers in a quest to free him. Her research uncovered evidence of Boston police corruption that tainted the Mulligan homicide investigation and trials. Called a “game changer” by the courts, the finding led to the reversal of Sean’s conviction and his release from prison in 2015.

In for Life is Murphy’s riveting account of her journey through a corrupt criminal justice system and her distress at the two different Americas Sean and her son faced growing up.

Woven throughout are insights from her prison conversations with Sean that deepened their bond over two decades – a bond that became life changing for both.

In For Life

This was an interesting read for those who like true crime. This is different though in that it doesn’t follow the investigation and arrest of the individual. In this story Sean is already in jail and this is the story of the author’s investigation into his arrest because she believes him to be innocent. That fact makes this an interesting true crime read.

If you didn’t read the summary above, please do. It does a better job of explaining the book than I can do. The author doesn’t just find out that Sean is innocent (not a spoiler as it’s in the summary) but that their was police corruption involved.

Follow the story from when the author discovers Sean is in prison through to the end.

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Find In For Life at Goodreads.

About Kathleen

I've been a nonfiction lover for as long as I can remember. I love children's nonfiction as well and love to share my knowledge and the books I gained them from, with the world. I wish more people would give nonfiction a chance.