A Killer’s Grace

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.

Bittersweet Memories

Bittersweet Memories ISBN: 9781933826523, PMI Books a novel by Lynn Osterkamp.

Plot: The protagonist, Anna’s family has strong roots in Helena, Montana where her grandfather, Edmund Weller, found gold in 1883 and began the family that became ranchers, lawyers and politicians. Her father started Weller & Associates in 1940 which she joined in 1966 after graduating from law school followed by her brother Dan in 1970. She went on to become a judge and now is 73-year-old judge retiree caring for her husband Jerry who is quite frail and in advanced stages of Alzheimer’s. She has just lost her dearest friend Martha with whom she has been inseparable except for the years they were at different colleges. They had returned, married their hometown boyfriends and began their adult lives, much of which were the mundane activities associated with life of marriage and professional activity – Martha’s family were in banking. Along with their constant relationship, Anna’s children, their spouses and their children, and brother Dan constantly remained in close contact. Unfortunately her sister Sandra became a Nun and would not even speak with her and another brother Ned and gone to the west coast, became a neuroscience professor and also completely lost contact with the family. The loss of these siblings, how and why it occurred and the reactions of family members at the time as well as of a much later period are presented in some detail from their point of view as well as that of Anna who always has indulged in positive, although as we learn, often not quite correct memories. The story culminates in a quite thorough family discussion of the surprisingly positive result of Ned’s extensive use of his training, of Sandra’s ultimate reaction and Anna’s final acceptance of the fact that every family may not be able to attain the beautiful family existence as she remembers pictured on TV for the Walton’s or similarly portrayed groups.

Discussion: The author has set forth a tale that, although somewhat depressing, many readers will find quite enchanting. Her characters belong to a closely knit family but are interestingly portrayed as being quite diverse in their attitudes, actions and reactions and neuroscientist Ned’s device, along with all accompanying details and discussion, presents an intriguing basis upon which to build the tale. Regrettably, knowledgeable hunters and mystery devotees will be disturbed by the number of unanswered questions that arise from this basic element of the story.

3* Depressing but enchanting for many; numerous questions for hunters and/or mystery buffs