The Execution of Noa P. Singleton by Elizabeth L. Silver is a novel about our capital punishment system taking place mostly in Philadelphia. This is Ms. Silver’s, a lawyer who worked on death penalty cases, debut novel.
Noa P. Singleton is awaiting execution for the murder of her father’s pregnant girlfriend. As the months pass and her execution date gets closer, Noa is visited by Marlene Dixon, mother of her victim.
Marlene Dixon is a powerful attorney; she promises Noa that if she’ll tell her why she killed her daughter, she will try and get the governor to commute the sentence from death to life in prison. But Noa has her own agenda, and Marlene is somehow involved.
The Execution of Noa P. Singleton is a thoughtful book which keeps turning itself upside down with new revelations about the protagonist, antagonist and several other characters. The book is mostly narrated by Noa, but the chapters end with letters written by the victim’s mother to her deceased daughter.
The trial scenes were fascinating, and the selection of the jury was hilarious. But best of all, the book made you think, not only about the nature of the death penalty but about the judicial system as well. Ms. Silver managed to write a fascinating book, told by an unreliable narrator which manages to tell a fascinating story in shades of gray. There are no good guys or bad guys in the story, everyone has their own demons within them, trying to make things right in their own head.
In each chapter the reader discovers some new revelation about Noa and her relationship to the supporting cast. The reader also discovers Noa’s state of mind while on death row, her acceptance to the situation she is in and her lifelong story which landed her behind bars.
The Execution of Noa P. Singleton is an astute story which brings up many questions about human nature and the justice system. The book’s dark tones and story will stay with the reader after one turns over the last page.