Book Review Series
The Execution of Noa P. Singleton
By WLALA Member Elizabeth L. Silver
Reviewed by Patricia Daza-Luu
It’s the year of the anti-hero. In WLALA Member Elizabeth Silver’s debut novel, The Execution of Noa P. Singleton (Crown/Random House 2013), we meet death row inmate Noa Singleton. Starting six months away from Singleton’s execution date, Singleton has resigned herself to her fate. Singleton admits she killed Sarah Dixon (her one and only victim ten years ago). Told in the first person narrative style, there’s an immediate feeling that the reader should trust Singleton but watch her carefully. Singleton, expectedly hardened, appears to just want "to get to dying.” The novel’s hook is the appearance of Sarah Dixon’s mother, power attorney Marlene Dixon, a new champion of the anti-death penalty movement. Dixon, accompanied by nouveau attorney Oliver Stansted, simply asks for the reason behind why Singleton killed her only daughter.
Execution is a fun ride and quick read. The reader gets to dive into Singleton’s life, which is far less privileged than the one of her victim. The book contains a somewhat unexpected twist, and we rapidly approach Singleton’s execution. The author’s wit and quick tongue are engaging and for the law nerds in all of us, it’s fun going through the appeals process with the main character. My only criticism concerned the ending, which I felt was not entirely consistent with the characters’ earlier development.
Overall, however, it was worth the read, and I give it 3.5 stars. It will be interesting to see where Silver will go next. I’ll sure be there to watch.
Patricia A. Daza-Luu is a WLALA Board Member and an attorney with Weston & McElvain, LLP, where she practices insurance coverage and entertainment/intellectual property litigation.
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