cover image Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After ‘Serial’

Adnan’s Story: The Search for Truth and Justice After ‘Serial’

Rabia Chaudry. St. Martin’s, $26.99 (416p) ISBN 978-1-250-08710-2

Launched into the collective consciousness by the podcast Serial, the investigation into Adnan Syed’s involvement in the 1999 murder of his ex-girlfriend continues to fascinate in this gripping account from attorney Chaudry, a friend of Syed’s family, who first brought the case to the attention of the podcast creators. Chaudry uses her unique perspective to craft a gripping and meticulously detailed account of the case including letters, court transcripts, and documentary evidence that fill in the show’s gaps and provide the latest updates. Readers new to the story will have no trouble following—the narrative is outlined extensively from the beginning—and podcast listeners will find plenty of previously undisclosed material. Chaudry explains what Serial missed, including a lack of legal perspective, and she argues that host Sarah Koenig failed to convey the enormity of Syed’s (later disbarred) attorney’s incompetence. She strongly makes the case for cultural and religious bias in the investigation and conviction and presents damaging evidence of police misconduct, including tampering with evidence and a witness. She also examines other suspects and their possible motives and alibis. Syed provides running commentary that creates a depiction of the damage inflicted on a person when the system fails. Chaudry’s version of a story of “justice, bigotry, faith, community, devastation, healing, and hope” points to an intentional, systematic framing of Syed by investigators, allegations that will surely spark controversy as his legal ordeal continues. (Aug.)