A murderer in 1917 was put to death after saying "They can't kill a smile!" Some people beg for their lives. Some announce that they are Jesus Christ. Some say they're sorry. Many claim their innocence. Put all together like this—the quotes are arranged in chapters by type of execution, from hanging to lethal injection—you want to look for a pattern. There's not quite a pattern to be found.
It's a worthwhile read, even if there's not much to say about it. No matter how you feel about the death penalty, you'll be hypnotized by this book. Last Words of the Executed is in bookstores now, and we'll be bringing an free advance reader's copy to Slog Happy this Thursday.