Cover Image: They Can't Take Your Name

They Can't Take Your Name

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed this. The storyline was great and kept me very interested. It took me a while to read this because I didn’t think it would interest me. I am glad I completed it.
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I'm struggling with how to rate this book. On the one hand, I thought it was an interesting story of a biased justice system and how when the system is stacked against you, it's virtually impossible to defend yourself. On the other hand, I thought the characters in the book were really flat and their personal interactions rather stilted.

The book talks about issues like the fact that death row is full of black inmates, how race works against you in the justice system, how white defendants (like the white cop) can use certain defences that the court denies the black defendant. It also tries to shed some light on race relationships in the US in particular, and how ironic it is that it's known as "the land of the free" when there is such a history of slavery and exploitation.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing an ARC of the audiobook in return for an honest review.
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A thrilling #ownvoices suspense story that gave me all the John Grisham vibes!!! Hard to put down this was a moving mystery with three dimensional characters that kept me guessing right to the very end. Highly recommended!! Much thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for my advance listening copy.
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I listened to the audiobook and found it very well narrated. I enjoyed the story and the characters. This book certainly does give you a different look at the justice system. Realistically portrayed situations with an added atmospheric feel to it all. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for the chance to listen to the audiobook.
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3.5 rounded up to 4 STARS
They Can’t Take Your Name explores the topics of racism and the American justice system. What makes this a bit unique is that for the most part all of the characters are Black, or as the book refers to them, dark-skinned.

This is narrated beautifully. However, yes, however is following closely behind, I’m not sure the story would have held my attention if I wasn’t listening to it.

The plot, though containing an important topic, felt a little bit here and there at times. It was interesting but didn’t develop to the point I felt terribly connected to the characters or story until quite late.

Then, as the story picked up speed, something happened that felt completely out of character and unbelievable. Interesting? Sure. But the action didn’t fit the character, or for that matter, any semi-sane character.

Though I want to enthusiastically root for the message behind this book, it only partially worked for me.

My Concerns
I didn’t feel as connected to the major players as I’d like to have been and the plot didn’t feel tight. I would have liked it to focus deeper on one aspect or the other. But by attempting to cover so much, it ended up a little watered down.

Final Thoughts
It wasn't difficult to listen to this story. I was interested and there is a mystery woven throughout the pages. I hate to think corruption is to this degree but, unfortunately, it's a worthwhile topic to bring to our awareness.

I’d say give this a try, especially as an audiobook.

My thanks to NetGalley and Dreamscape Media for the opportunity to listen to this audiotape and review it without any stipulations.
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this book was very slow. i did enjoy it. it was reminiscent of joe ide's IQ series. I enjoyed the look into the criminal justice system and the dynamic between the main characters. however it was very very slow and honestly it was more of a character study than a thriller.
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Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with an ALC in exchange for an honest review. 

They Can't Take Your Name by Robert Justice is a stellar listen! First of all, the narrator voice fits exactly what I think the main character would look/sound like and it enhanced the story so much! His voice was so pleasant to listen to with the perfect intonation throughout which kept me engaged and interested. The story is also great: a maybe-sort-of-dirty cop, a maybe-not-so-guilty death row inmate, and a discussion on race in the media when it comes to crimes committed. There is so much to unpack in these morally-grey areas, and this book is a fictional commentary on real life issues which I loved! The morally-grey characters were engaging, interesting, and I loved getting to know this story. 4.5/5
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One of the best books I have read this year.  Best being defined as laugh, cringe, cry, think, evaluate and learn.  The subject matter is current and tough.  They can't take your name is beautifully explained in the book.  Once again, the dirty side of politics is shown.  I ask, is there any side but dirty?  

The narrator did an incredible job.  

Thank you NetGalley for accepting my request to read and review They Can't Take Your Name.

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They Can't Take Your Name takes you to a place you never want to be but happens every day in this country. How does Liza go on every day believing her father was wrongfully imprisoned and will soon be sentenced to death? Eli has his own issues missing his wife and doesn't know how to go on and/or should he. Together these two have a lot to overcome.
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What a wonderful and imaginative book of hope, discovery, love and loss. This was a beautiful and captivating mystery that makes you reevaluate your beliefs about justice and standing up for what is right and any cost. I will definitely watch for more from this author and the narrator is OUTSTANDING, with a smooth, sultry, sexy voice. An amazing mystery that will remain with you long after you finish! Thank you Netgallery.
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This debut is literary with suspenseful elements. I mainly listened to the audiobook. I appreciate J.D. Jackson’s stellar narration as his talent ranges from an older man to the man’s young granddaughter for this recording.    During scenes in the novel, Langston, the older man on death row, quotes poems from his well-known namesake and chants out loud, making these moments heartbreaking and potent.  There is also the beginnings of a romance, which does not overshadow the seriousness of the plot.  The injustice of this story is countered with enduring faith and the love of family, whether born into or found. Readers will see the potential for a sequel. 

Thanks to Crooked Lane, Dreamscape Media, and NetGalley for advanced access.  My ratings and reviews are my own. 

TW and CW: graphic scenes of execution; mentions of SA and kidnapping;  death of a loved one; scene of suicide on page; self-harm on page; depiction of mental illness
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Truly eye opening and heartbreaking. This was an emotional roller coaster ride for me. 
They Can't Take Your Name by Robert Jones explores, among other issues, racial injustice, loss of loved ones, prejudice, and corrupt law enforcement and politicians. I was completely enthralled by this story. Robert Justice has skillfully woven together several characters and plot lines to create one of the most emotionally wrecking books I've read in a long time. The twists in this had me truly shocked at times. I would really love some more of Liza and Eli's story after the ending though. This should be required reading for literally everyone. The audiobook was very easy to fall into and a no brainer for me to recommend!

Thanks so much to Netgalley and Dreamscape media for allowing me to review this book. All opinions are honest and my own.
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Author interview on the Crime Writers of Color Podcast:
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This book….is a must read!

This is powerful and heartbreaking story is about Liza's father Langston who is wrongfully accused of the Mother’s Day murder and put on death row. Liza tries to clear her father's name knowing that he did not commit these murders. Will Liza clear his name in time, or will Langston get the cocktail of death? Eli, while dealing in the own grief from the death of his wife, helps Liza and becomes entangled in the corruption. This is an amazing story about race between the children of Africa and the children of Europe, grief, friendship, and dreams. A must read that should be added to everyone’s #tbr.
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Y'all. I read this twice- once in print and once in audio. Gripping and real and emotional and gut wrenching either way... but as I am an unrepentant audiophile, I lean toward the audio version, simply because JD Jackson brings Langston and Eli and Liza and Antoinette to life.  I rarely turn around at the end of a book and go back to read it again, especially when I JUST read it, but... I had to do it. 
To know me is to know that I love several true crime podcasts- one of my new favorites is Wrongful Conviction. My housemate is always laughing at me because I like to listen to 'serious stuff'.  This book? Serious stuff. But it's so good.  While many of those stories end with an exoneration, many don't. This book feels like a meld of The Wrongful Conviction podcast, Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson and The Life of David Gale. I still think about Just Mercy and David Gale far too often and now I'll be thinking of They Can't Take Your Name.
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I received this book free from the publisher Dreamscape Media through in exchange for an honest review. 

This book was fabulous.  What an insightful and very relevant book for today.  Set in Denver's five point section it reminds you of the fabulous jazz players that began their careers there. This book is deep in black culture.  From the music, to the poetry to the injustice.  

I loved Eli.  His character is tortured and vulnerable yet with a compassionate need to do the right thing. Ever since he witnessed his beloved mentor and priest murdered Eli has been terrified that the perpetrator knew he was there and would come for him.  He has lived his life looking over his shoulder, having panic attacks and living in an underground bunker.  With his wife dead he struggles to live day to day but something about Liza and her passion lights him up.  

Liza is a single mother whose father Langston Brown is slated to be executed for the mothers day massacre even though he had an alibi and even the witnesses said the culprit was white.  She was just a child then but has gone to law school in order to get her dad off death row but she is running out of time.  When she stumbles into Eli's club for a drink she finds much more. An ally, a friend, and someone who can give her a venue to pursue her other passion, singing. 

This is a complicated but all too common story.  White man is charged with the massacre and is let go, Black man then gets charged with the same crime even though he has an alibi and he is convicted and sentenced to die.  The cop who finally "caught" Langston Brown is the same cop that Eli saw in the confessional right before his mentor was murdered.  Eli heard him confess to setting someone up for a crime they didn't commit.  

With interesting commentary on race, race relations and the justice system this book kept me riveted. If there was ever a book that really shows how flawed the justice system is and why we should abolish the death penalty this is it. I found myself savoring the words, enjoying the lyrical prose and really becoming engaged in the emotion of what was going on.  Black Lives Matter and this book really gets to the matter of why that slogan and movement came to be. The narrator was fantastic, I can't say enough about this book.
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They Can't Take Your Name explores the topics of racism and the American justice system but misses the mark at storytelling and character development. It is well-written grammatically, but the story is poorly developed.

The plot wavers between trite and implausible. The characters are all over the place. In one chapter their behavior is completely predictable and in the next, it is 100% contradictory. You can tell from the first scene that the two main characters will end up together, but there is no tension or smolder leading up to the inevitable. That was a real opportunity missed. Two of the characters, Liza and the policeman (I forget his name), were just too inconsistent to be believable. 

It seemed like the author was trying to evoke sympathy, but he didn't develop any character enough for me root for. I just didn't care.
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Beautifully written.
The audiobook could have used another voice to help with transitions. I did have to restart sections sometimes to make sure I was following the correct story line. This book touches aspects of love, loss, racism while holding one to the underlining message of hope and doing the right thing.
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This is a gripping story of the injustice of the justice system.  Liza left Julliard to go to law school so she could work to free her father who was convicted of a crime he did not commit.  A corrupt police officer decided to frame her father for the Mother's Day Massacre and he is now on death row and after many appeals time has run out.  The governor has decided that all inmates on death row will be put to death within 30 days.  Liza has gone to work for Eli Stone at his jazz club and enlists his help. Eli, after the loss of his wife, has nothing left but the club and works to help Liza.  There are a lot of twists and we are taken on many turns.  I wasn't sure what to expect on this one but I am really glad I read/listened to this one and recommend it.
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A well done, powerful, timely book. The author created a book that’s both unique and difficult to describe. It’s a delicate balancing act that he pulls off masterfully.
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