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.

Our Eternal Curse, ANOTHER TRIBE

Our Eternal Curse, ANOTHER TRIBE, A historical, mystery war story e-book by Simon Rumney.

Plot: After a quote: “Racism is a virus that can only be spread by us”, the story opens with the battle being fought at Shiloh in April 1863, a fact that was of no importance to Julii because “she had not yet met Captain Robert Calhoun, the man who would teach her the white man’s language.” And “She was blissfully unaware that each step (she was taking) was taking her closer and closer to unimaginable heartache…” as she followed the path she had been following almost every morning as a papoose on her mother’s back or on foot, almost every morning of her eighteen years. She is one of the last members of the small Koasati tribe banished by the parent tribe and the Cherokee Nation to a hidden valley known as “a bad spirit place” in Tennessee. Julii’s grandparents were the original inhabitants banished because they had persisted in marriage against all dictates. The small sub-tribe had avoided the American government’s “trail of tears” that had banished all Indians from the eastern states because they literally had not been known to exist. While walking, Julii hears unusual thunder-like sounds with no clouds in the sky and when she arrives at the creek she sees a pink man in unusual clothes who has fallen from his horse with his broken leg caught in the stirrup – none of which she understands, but releases him, gives him water and finally is able to get him to her village where she nurses him not only for the leg but additionally a severe and infected head wound. During his recovery, the reader discovers that she is an extremely intelligent person with remarkable powers of learning and assimilation, and although as a Southerner and racially biased, he still manages to teach her a considerable amount of English. Upon his recovery, she accompanies him back to Atlanta. On the trip he becomes enamored and they indulge in heavy sexual activity. Upon arrival, she is treated as other non-whites, he is court-martialed for deserting his command at Shiloh, her testimony is unacceptable because the prosecutor says she is lying about the short time she had been able to learn the language, there are no Indians left in the eastern states, and besides she is an Indian and no better than the other non-white residents. He is convicted and she is abandoned only to be saved by an Italian Count who detests the manner in which the white population treats anyone not of their color. Also as the largest supplier of armament for the Confederacy through his modern fleet of steam blockade runners, no one interferes with him. He believes and then discovers, that she actually is a reincarnation of a member of his family going back to the pre-Roman era and the story evolves as Julii continues to learn and with her tremendous intellect becomes involved not only in strengthening his business, but for revenge devises a plan to defeat the Confederacy. Ultimately she obtains her revenge on the abominably racist southerners while dishearteningly discovering that many of the Northern Union officers are no better and she pays a highly significant price for her actions.

Discussion: The story moves very slowly and simplistically through the early stages of the book, but eventually gains momentum to provide an interesting tale of realism intermingled with fantasy, revenge, reincarnation and retribution mostly incorporated in the historical settings of Atlanta and Savannah during the Civil War. It provides fascinating recall of similarities in historically relevant mistaken war maneuvers and sets forth interesting conjecture on the loss of Vicksburg and of Sherman’s famous/infamous March to the Sea. And finally to sum up the author’s intent, from this reviewer’s perspective, is to provide a story that not only strongly censors racism but also weaves the tale of a young woman who is destined to endure: “Life was never supposed to be something predictable and safe or “normal”. Life is a series of uncontrollable and unfinished events. Longing for the day when everything returns to normal was simply a vain hope. Normal was chaos and the only way to find happiness within chaos was to accept it. To surrender to it, to live amongst it. To let it take its course. To allow events to be unfinished.”

Conclusion: A slowly developing tale providing multiple emotions that can, or cannot, be embraced, and at a level determined by, the reader. A caveat MUST be offered for individuals who find accepted verbalization of the day too offensive as it is presented by the author.

3* Slowly developing emotional tale requiring caveat described.