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A law intended to end capital punishment.

Prosecutors who seek the death penalty put their lives on the line if the guilty are later found innocent.

A lawyer convinced beyond reasonable doubt.

Justine Boucher is presented with overwhelming evidence in a brutal murder case. Her request for execution is granted.

But what if she’s wrong?

’Queen of the “what if” thriller. Unflinching, unguessable and unputdownable’ Simon Lelic

‘A nonstop thrill ride! The Sentence will grab you on the first page and not let go until the very end’ Jeffrey Deaver

’Thrilling, topical and timely … I ripped through this in a few days’ Louise Swanson

’Provocative, inventive and compulsively page-turning’ David Koepp

’Absorbing, dynamic, button-pushing’ Ross Armstrong

Christina Dalcher recently spent some time with The Big Thrill discussing her latest thriller, THE SENTENCE.

Can you pinpoint a moment or incident that sparked the idea for this book?
Reading The Green Mile (Stephen King). For that matter, watching any film that centers on wrongful incarceration of an innocent human being. The premise always makes me shiver. But wrongful incarceration can be remedied. Wrongful execution cannot.

A novel is such a major undertaking; there’s the writing of it, of course, then you’re spending months and months revising, polishing, and then promoting it. How did you know this was the book you wanted to spend the next couple of years on?
There are some questions that need to be asked. The moral question in THE SENTENCE is one of those. That’s worth a couple of years out of my life, I think.

Were there any particular books, movies, or songs that were knocking around in your head while you were writing this one?
See above.
Les Miserables
The Shawshank Redemption
The Green Mile
Cool Hand Luke
Escape from Alcatraz
The Executioner’s Song

In addition to a great read, what do you hope readers will take away from this story?
I hope everyone reading THE SENTENCE—whatever their politics, and however they view capital punishment—finishes the book with one question on their minds: How do we remedy the irremediable?

What can you share about what you’re working on next?
My current work in progress? I can sum it up in four words:

I kill social media.


Christina Dalcher is the Sunday Times bestselling author of VOX, Q and Femlandia. She earned her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from Georgetown University, specialising in the phonetics of sound change in Italian and British dialects. She and her husband live in the American South.

To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.