Book Review: Indefensible: The Missing Truth about Steven Avery, Teresa Halbach, and Making a Murderer by Michael Griesbach

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I was seduced into reading this book, not because I had watched the Netflix Documentary (if that’s what it can be called) but by the hope to cut through some of the hype and get to facts.  Michael Griesbach’s book does that – though it takes a long road to get there.

As a true crime author I carefully watched the chatter/buzz about the Making of a Murderer documentary.  What I took note of was the gross omissions that many claimed the producers made.  In fairness, I’ve only seen snippets of the documentary myself.  I wanted to know the truth about the crime without having to binge-watch the documentary.  I wanted the truth.

Mr. Griesbach gets us there.  The first few chapters tell us why he wrote the book and his role in the prosecutor’s office.  It was okay, but dragged.  I found myself chomping at the bit to get to the details of the crime.

When I finally got there, I got the book I purchased…it delivered.  I have seen some professional debunking in true crime before, (Gerald Posner’s JFK book Case Closed as well as Vince Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History).  This book isn’t on par with those epics, but does a stalwart job of tearing apart the documentary with the skill that only a professional prosecutor could.

The author did a masterful job of picking apart even the background story of Mr. Avery as presented in the films.  The entire incident of the cat being set on fire, which I found online, was presented in almost a “boys having fun,” manner when in reality, it was pure, vicious animal cruelty.

I’m not getting into his guilt or innocence and the book does a good job of not laying that framework – only dismantling of the “evidence” presented in the documentary.

With a slow start – I give this book four out of five stars.  My only words of caution: I think you’ll enjoy it more if you have watched the documentary.

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2 thoughts on “Book Review: Indefensible: The Missing Truth about Steven Avery, Teresa Halbach, and Making a Murderer by Michael Griesbach

  1. Cindy Petty

    I did watch the documentary. Like you I’m not arguing Steven Avery’s innocence or guilt and I have not read the book, which I will be doing. I did read an article by Dustin Rowles who gave his insight on this book. After watching the documentary and reading the article I see nothing still that convinces me that he is guilty or that he isn’t. There are still many unanswered questions about what happened. Maybe the documentary did leave out some things, important things. Maybe they did tend to make the lawyers for Avery look good, his family poor yet supportive of their son, and the police to look like they were out to get Avery no matter the cost or what they had to do. Dousing a cat in oil and setting it on fire is not something a normal person would do. In my opinion, he should have been charged and jailed for that. From what I seen in the Documentary I believe Avery is mentally “slow,” for a lack of a better word. I think this played a huge role in why the people who watched the documentary have compassion for him, not to mention that they were poor people. I feel that the Manitowoc police department and the powers that be were furious that they were made out to look completely corrupt when Avery was released from prison. Something definitely happened, but at whose hand?. Something about the documentary’s story and this book isn’t exactly right. We will NEVER know what REALLY happened and to say Avery is innocent or to say he is definitely guilty and is where he ought to be, well, that is an assumption that no one really can make with what we as viewers have to go on.

  2. Michael Teixeira

    I gave up on the book after reading how the author portrayed Brendan Dassey whose confession was found by a federal magistrate in August 2016 to have been coerced. This was shown in the documentary, but ignored by the author. The magistrate’s decision was upheld by the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in June 2017. Further legal involvement is expected on the matter.

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