"I used to lean my chin on the windowsill and stare outside. It was cold or hot, the glass had ice on it or the window was open and air blew in. I looked out at the sky and trees, and everything was there, and I would someday go out to see all of it. Then I was much older, standing in front of the same window, and the sky and the air were the same, and the window was no bigger than twenty-five years earlier, but everything else was changed. Don't do this, I thought. Don't do this anymore, I whispered. And then I wanted to run and shout, wanted to get out somehow from my skin and be some other person in some other place..." The voice belongs to Jack Connor, who 10 years ago, at age 35, killed his parents and his grandmother. Now he sits on death row, waiting to become the first person executed by the State of Massachusetts in 50 years, taking the prison chaplain's suggestion and writing down everything he can remember. Connor's thoughts--clotted by years of clamping his feelings inward, but pierced with moments of intense sadness--alternate with the more coherent memories of other people who became a part of his story: a frightened neighbor, a pompous undertaker, an ambitious journalist, and other accidental tourists along Jack's road to violence. Author Paul Cody's major achievement here is hiding the art it takes to provide a chilling, completely unglamorous look into the soul of a murderer. --Dick Adler
From Library Journal
Cody (Eyes Like Mine, LJ 3/1/96) has an uncanny ability to transform the heebie-jeebies?the pervasive neurosis of our collective culture?into literate fiction. In the present work, he projects to future and past, creating dark fantasies around the birth of a child (Who will I be as an elderly man? Who was I as a young child?). He thereby gets into the death-row head of a psychotic killer who has drugged and suffocated his drunkard father, ineffectual mother, and abusive grandmother. Through first-person meanderings punctuated by the depositions of neighbors, reporters, and police officers in the Boston suburb of Newton, Massachusetts, Cody draws a portrait of a mentally ill boy and young man caught in the throes of family psychopathology. Cody's literary virtuosity?this author can certainly write?will find a dedicated audience. Recommended for literary collections.?Harold Augenbraum, Mercantile Lib. of New York
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