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Publisher's Summary

LOS ANGELES TIMES BOOK PRIZE FINALIST
NAACP IMAGE AWARD NOMINEE

A “powerful and devastating” (The Washington Post) call to free those buried alive by America’s legal system, and an inspiring true story about unwavering belief in humanity - from a gifted young lawyer and important new voice in the movement to transform the system.

“An essential book for our time.... Brittany K. Barnett is a star.” (Van Jones, CEO of REFORM Alliance, CNN Host, and New York Times best-selling author) 

Brittany K. Barnett was only a law student when she came across the case that would change her life forever - that of Sharanda Jones, single mother, business owner, and, like Brittany, Black daughter of the rural South. A victim of America’s devastating war on drugs, Sharanda had been torn away from her young daughter and was serving a life sentence without parole - for a first-time drug offense. In Sharanda, Brittany saw haunting echoes of her own life, as the daughter of a formerly incarcerated mother. As she studied this case, a system came into focus in which widespread racial injustice forms the core of America’s addiction to incarceration. Moved by Sharanda’s plight, Brittany set to work to gain her freedom.

This had never been the plan. Bright and ambitious, Brittany was a successful accountant on her way to a high-powered future in corporate law. But Sharanda’s case opened the door to a harrowing journey through the criminal justice system. By day she moved billion-dollar deals, and by night she worked pro bono to free clients in near hopeless legal battles. Ultimately, her path transformed her understanding of injustice in the courts, of genius languishing behind bars, and the very definition of freedom itself.

Brittany’s riveting memoir is at once a coming-of-age story and a powerful evocation of what it takes to bring hope and justice to a system built to resist them both.

NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS

©2020 Brittany K. Barnett (P)2020 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"A Knock at Midnight is a book that is just right for this smoldering moment, a memoir that offers an irresistible invitation to examine the evolution and the impact of injustice in America.” (Michele Norris, contributing columnist at The Washington Post and founding director of The Race Card Project) 

“A crusading lawyer battles unfair sentences meted out in the 'war on drugs' in this passionate memoir...An engrossing legal drama complete with wrenching reversals and redemptions, this account richly humanizes defendants while incisively analyzing deep flaws in America's justice system.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) 

“With a penetrating honesty, Brittany K. Barnett masterfully unlocks the mysterious doors of the prison system, revealing a long tradition of racial injustice and inequality. In the spirit of great films like Ava DuVernay’s 13th, A Knock at Midnight is both an educational tool and a call to action that will leave readers enlightened and inspired for years to come.” (Shaka Senghor, author of Writing My Wrongs

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What listeners say about A Knock at Midnight

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Like an Arrow Straight to Your Heart

This is a masterpiece of writing, narration and performance on the highest scale. I loved this book so much I had to buy it for my Aunt to read and want to give it as a gift to everyone I know. I am like too many Americans who are not visibly touched by the tragic horrors and inhumane treatment of our people behind the walls of prisons, jails and detention centers. Incarceration is a "Safe Word" for DEHUMANIZING HELL.

Brittany K Barnett deserves the highest awards and eternal gratitude not just for the life changing work she does but for the way she told her story. Each person she touched became visible, alive and recognized for the talents, gifts and contributions they give to society. Karen Chilton's narration is outstanding and turns this book into a person storytelling experience. Buy this book for yourself, a friend and anyone you love.

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Riveting Listen, Inspiring, Change Your Mind

My law office read "A Knock at Midnight" in our office book club. I expected to listen to a book about the legal system and social justice and expected it to be fact-based and procedural. I didn't mind that, but boy, was I wrong! This book is a heart-filled story of real people who are owed your time. You won't be able to turn it off! Brittany Barnett weaves together this book in a beautiful way that even after the book is finished, you will be inspired to follow the lives of each real person. Listen to their stories, and learn about their lives. It is a stark look at the United States criminal justice system and much of what these people have experienced is appalling and wrong. Things need to change, but if you are skeptical, start here. Listen. Learn.

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Stole My Heart

Loved every second from beggining to end. This was an authentic criticism of the U.S. criminal justice system focused on the long term impacts of "the war on drugs". The stories of each of the characters were compelling and brought the story to life. I highly recommend.

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Phenomenal !!

This book was AMAZING! Moved me to tears! If you are interested in real stories on the impact of this country’s justice system, read this! If you are interested in hearing about a Black woman and her successful efforts freeing others, read this! Just, wow. Riveting and moving. Wow.

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Powerful and passionate

I could not stop listening. The author did a masterful job of humanizing the imprisoned. Barnett took us on a journey of tremendous pain and injustice but kept us hopeful. I’m motivated to help change the inhumanity of the justice system.

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Filled with compassion, deeds and reflection

Brittany K. Barnett did an superb job of painting a vivid picture of the lives of those with Lifetime Sentences and helping us to understand the unjust laws that rendered their outcomes.

I grew up in the Dallas Metroplex and never knew all of this was going on around me. As an educator of 18 years, I have witnessed systematic racism in the public education system. Brittany’s writing fuels me to do more!!! I will!!!! And then just maybe “A Knock at Midnight” won’t be necessary at the adult level for so many of my malenated brothers and sisters.

This is a read you will NOT regret purchasing!!! A hard copy will remain in my forever library.

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Amazing!

Truly inspiring story of a hero! Brittany, thank you for sharing your efforts and telling us about so many special people.

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I lived theses moments

This was an excellent book. The narrator is Fabulous. This book it home with me because I went Jazzez and knew some of people or heard the people in this book. I was at church when Brittany spoke. I cried, laughed and rejoiced like I was there in the every moment.

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Must Read or Listen!!! If you’re seeking TRUTH.

Brittany is absolutely brilliant. This book demonstrates the power of passion and how one person on a mission can make a difference in the lives of so many! Yet still there is so much work to do...

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Powerful to its Core

Ms. Barnett writes with incredible heart, hope, and wisdom to bring an awareness to the inhumane and unjust “justice system. “I am grateful to her for writing this book.