City of Angels

City of Angels ISBN: 9780692894286, an e-book written, Copyright and published by K. Patrick.

The author has provided a story set in California that primarily addresses a prominent problem apparently existent well beyond that state. The book is dedicated “to the nearly half a million children in the United States living in foster care, group homes and institutions. And to the thousands among them who age out of the system each year and are forced to find their way of life with little or no support.” To tell his story as completely as possible, and yet attempt to make it an enjoyable read, he has proceeded to set forth 740+ pages divided into 94 chapters. He also has included a sizeable number of characters in several differing situations. Further, to very clearly define the situation, he presented these individuals as distinctly characteristic of the best and worst types representing each side of the equation. Because of the diverse nature of the situations and the number of differing characters, a more usual description of the quite involved plot would be more extensive than really would seem feasible in a review. So, very briefly, a young boy enters the system, grows to just two months away from leaving when he is accused and found guilty of a murder that incarcerates him for life. Later, it is discovered that he had been falsely accused. He is released and in a most dramatic fashion is able to bring about quite drastic change.

This is a well-written book dealing with a monstrous social problem by an author who is most knowledgeable about the existing conditions, the unprincipled individuals in prominent positions within the system itself, the dishonest ambitious and uncaring politicians and how these situations develop, especially when aided and abetted by the divisive, unprincipled manner in which the judiciary from judges and district attorneys’ down to various levels of the police can use any means to subvert justice if pressure ‘dictates’. The author additionally has a fine grasp of both amateur and professional boxing and of the prison system and the inmates.

This is a long read and does suffer toward the latter part from some breakdown in proofing, probably for this exact reason. HOWEVER, the author has provided a story that moves so well that this offers only momentary annoyance and nothing more.

Conclusion: A book that begins as a rather simple ‘tear-jerker’ and develops into a serious look at several huge societal problems all interwoven in a story ranging from brutality to poignancy with well-developed characters and conducted at a pace which makes the book difficult to put down.

5* Interwoven societal problems presented in most enjoyably readable fashion.

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.