A Killer’s Grace ISBN: 9781938288760, Terra Nova Books, 2nd Edition e-book by Ronald Chapman.
Plot: Kevin Pitcairn is a recovered alcoholic and well-received freelance journalist living on the outskirts of Albuquerque, New Mexico. He and his Mexican-American girlfriend Maria Lena and their two Boxers, Lucy and Lincoln live in a home they have purchased knowing that eventually they would marry. Constantly he is awakened by dreams stemming from the fact that fifteen years ago he had killed a man in a rage resulting from a bad drug and alcohol. The crime never was investigated because it was committed in a sleazy hotel, he had left the hotel after blanking out and the victim, when discovered, was a drug felon. Thus, the fact was known only to Maria and his mentor and others in his Alcoholics Anonymous group. Guilt hangs heavily in his mind and when he receives a letter from a confessed serial killer, he gradually becomes completely involved. Daniel Davidson, the convicted killer of eight young women is in the local jail awaiting extradition to Texas where he is to face the death penalty. His diagnosis was “Sexual Sadism resulting in violent sexual activity in a repetitive manner”. In the letter Davidson freely admits his guilt but with the trial presentation of his early abuse and the fact that after administration of Depro-Lupron, his testosterone level had dropped to a very low level so he no longer felt the overriding compulsion to destroy women, he asserted “it was not really his fault”. This statement contrary to common belief, together with Pitcairn’s own memories of abuse as well as of his violent history and his deep lying guilt, initiates a need within him to delve into the matter and see if other young disturbed individuals can be saved from going down the same violent path. The resultant tale is the gradual evolution of Pitcairn’s deep immersion into a profound study of the cause/effect nature of ‘violence leading violence’. It also describes his transformation from a staunch agnostic to a gradual understanding of the idea of “forgive them for they know not what they do.” Along the way his activity and published articles and speaking appearances provide a profound change in Maria Elena and others as he encounters a host of, often violent, reactions to his proposals and the reader meets a number of other interesting, even absorbing individuals as he struggles toward redemption.
Discussion: The author has provided a quite in-depth look at a man with a heavy psychological load intelligently using wide investigative means together with introspective measures in attempting to find some level of personal relief. He also has opened another window that is almost compellingly necessary for the reader to contemplate – the growing attitude of dissatisfaction with the death penalty. Some of the growing amount of the scientific evidence that favors the fact that killers are the product of their early years, the author has presented well and he has alluded to even more. However and most regrettably, he along with the producers of the growing mass of evidence, have no suggestion as to how to proceed to stamp out this festering sore. From a pragmatic viewpoint, all of the evidence supports the need to save these individuals BUT at the same time how do you protect the man/woman on the street from the violence. To be brutally realistic, until perhaps ‘The Second Coming’, the answer may be unattainable. The amount of money required to establish the necessary programs to discover these abused individuals before they become violent, plus establishment of necessary therapeutic programs, alone is beyond calculation. Plus the competence of those charged with the task must be considered. We need go no further than to witness the ability, or more seemingly lack thereof, for individuals to discover answers to questions circulating about persons in the U. S. Government – questions that quite frankly are far less involved than those required about abuse. And while decisions are being made with respect to this matter, the population must be protected and it is my understanding that the rising cost of incarceration also is reaching well beyond unmanageable proportions.
Summary: An engrossing tale of one man’s intelligent approach to redemption that also leads the reader to thoroughly consider a compelling social problem.
5* Engrossing tale of redemption opening great need to consider a social problem.