New York City 1992: a year after riots exploded between black and Jewish neighbors in Brooklyn, a black family is brutally murdered in their Crown Heights home. A teenager is quickly convicted, and the justice system moves on.
Twenty-two years later, journalist Rebekah Roberts gets a letter: I didn't do it. Frustrated with her work at the city’s sleaziest tabloid, Rebekah starts to dig. But witnesses are missing, memories faded, and almost no one wants to talk about that grim, violent time in New York City—not even Saul Katz, a former NYPD cop and her source in Brooklyn’s insular Hasidic community.
So she goes it alone. And as she gets closer to the truth of that night, Rebekah finds herself in the path of a killer with two decades of secrets to protect.
From the author of the Edgar-nominated Invisible City comes another timely thriller that illuminates society’s darkest corners. Told in part through the eyes of a jittery eyewitness and the massacre’s sole survivor, Julia Dahl's Conviction examines the power—and cost—of community, loyalty, and denial.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Julia Dahl’s Conviction is a mesmerizing thriller that follows journalist Rebekah Roberts as she investigates the cold murder case of a black Brooklyn family. Dahl’s prose is brave and dynamic, capturing the vibrant scenery of ‘90s Crown Heights and the racial tensions that existed there between the black and Hasidic communities. Roberts is a magnetic protagonist who delivers razor-sharp dialogue. We highly recommend this powerful read.
In Dahl's outstanding third novel featuring Brooklyn freelance reporter Rebekah Roberts (after 2015's Run You Down), Rebekah agrees to help DeShawn Perkins, who claims he's innocent of the crime that sent him to prison at age 16 murdering his foster parents and foster sister in 1992. DeShawn claims that a cop, who unquestioningly accepted a crack addict's ID of him, coerced his confession. The narrative alternates between the original murder investigation in Crown Heights, where riots pitted Orthodox Jews and black residents against each other, and Rebekah's present-day sleuthing in the quickly gentrifying neighborhood. Many of the case's original players are still out there, including Rebekah's formerly Orthodox ex-cop friend, Saul Katz; the woman in line to be the next Brooklyn DA; and the highly dubious eyewitness, all of whom have something to fear from Rebekah's probing. Dahl excels at revealing the inner workings of enigmatic subcultures while maintaining peak suspense. She also provides a terrific "whoa, I didn't see that coming" moment.