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Sweet Hell on Fire: A Memoir of the Prison I Worked In and the Prison I Lived In [Kindle Edition]

Sara Lunsford
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (38 customer reviews)

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Kindle Price: $7.69
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Book Description

"A gritty, raw, and engrossing voice."—Publishers Weekly

I was a bad mother,
a bad daughter,
a bad wife, a bad friend.
Boozed out and tired,
with no dreams
and no future.

But I was a good officer.

Sara Lunsford helped cage the worst of the worst, from serial killers to sex criminals. At the end of every day, when she walked out the prison gate, she had to try to shed the horrors she witnessed. But the darkness invaded every part of her life, no matter how much she tried to immerse herself in a liquor bottle. She couldn't hide from the things that hurt her, the things that made her bleed, the things that still rise up in the dark and choke her.

With a magnetic, raw voice that you won't soon forget, Sweet Hell on Fire grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. It's a hardscrabble climb from rock bottom to the new ground of a woman who understands the meaning of sacrifice, the joy of redemption, and the quiet haven to be found in hope.



Editorial Reviews

Review

"With a gritty, raw, and engrossing voice, debut author Lunsford splays out the facts of her dramatic life as a corrections officer at an all-male maximum security state prison.".... "Not for the easily offended or fainthearted, Lunsford's daring book will thrill and titillate willing readers." 
-Publisher's Weekly


"If you read one memoir this winter, make it 'Sweet Hell on Fire." - Stevens Point Journal

"Sara Lunsford romances readers with softness sometimes, making us chuckle, making us double-take. Then she grabs us and shakes hard, until we can't do anything but gasp. ... 'Sweet Hell on Fire' is a book to get your hands on." - Bookworm Sez, Best Book of 2012

"A blunt, angry, and very important book." - Christian Science Monitor

"A fascinating, frightening lens into a simmering underworld most of us would rather not think about." - Shelf Awareness

From the Back Cover

I was a bad mother, a bad daughter, a bad wife, a bad friend. Boozed out and tired, with no dreams and no future.
.
But I was a good officer.

Sara Lunsford helped cage the worst of the worst, from serial killers to sex criminals.  At the end of every day, when she walked out of the prison gate, she had to try and shed the horrors she witnessed.  But the darkness invaded every part of her life, no matter how much she tried to immerse herself in a liquor bottle. She couldn't hide from the things that hurt her, the things that made her bleed, the things that still rise up in the dark and choke her.  
 
With a magnetic, raw voice that you won't soon forget, Sweet Hell on Fire grabs you by the  throat and doesn't let go. It's a hardscrabble climb from rock bottom to the new ground of a woman who understands the meaning of sacrifice, the joy of redemption and the quiet haven to be found in hope.

Product Details

  • File Size: 774 KB
  • Print Length: 287 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1402270763
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (November 1, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008NC9DAU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #337,025 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding and inspiring memoir November 12, 2012
Format:Paperback
Sweet Hell on Fire: A Memoir of the Prison I Worked In and the Prison I Lived In is one of the best memoirs I've read this year. It is in all ways funny, insightful, gripping, educational, and just plain inspiring. Ms. Lunsford is brutally honest about her years as a corrections officer, giving us a glimpse into a world most of us will never see from either side of the bars. Her story is rich in detail and she is not afraid to tell even the worst, most embarassing parts of it.

Having been one of the few women in the IT profession back when dinosaurs walked the earth, I know what it's like to have to prove yourself to your male co-workers and to male customers who didn't believe that women knew anything about computers. My favorite question at the time was from a customer whose issue was escalated to me because none of the guys could fix it: "Honey, can you put me through to a real technician?" I can't imagine working in a maximum security prison as a woman where at any moment anyone is vulnerable to Very Bad Things. Ms. Lunsford's window into her job, its idiosyncracies, her struggles, and everything in-between is well worth the read. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Uncompromising, True, and Powerful May 11, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was more familiar with the author's more recent works, which are paranormal romance with heavy hints of erotica. You know, raunchy, funny, even screwball.
This was...anything but. Lots of bleak, horrifying moments, full of filth and nastiness and the worst people have to offer. Interspersed with some truly hilarious, laugh-out-loud, utterly inappropriate moments of dark humor, the sort of humor one can only find when it's either laugh or cry.
This isn't a pretty book, or a casual read, and it's a little disjointed and freewheeling in places, as the author works through some serious stuff. But it's an unflinching, unvarnished, unapologetic look at what really goes down in the corrections system. You want to see what it's like from the CO (Correction Officer) point of view? Here you go.
Warning: this book contains adult language, adult situations, and all sorts of nightmare fuel, and isn't for the faint of heart. That's not a criticism, that's just how it is.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Harrowing Tale of Transformation July 19, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Wow. I'm not usually much of a memoir reader -- a market that's been done to death -- but I fully recommend this one if you want to know just how much horror a person can go through and still emerge whole, better and truly triumph. This isn't some suburban tale of boohoo cruel words. Lunsford's account of being a prison guard while her life fell apart is harrowing from beginning to end, delivering an extra sucker punch just before redemption. From the first indelible image of trying to clean brains out of her uniform to the ultimate betrayal by a friend, you will be riveted. I'm sure the people on the train wondered what I was reading on my shiny tablet with my mouth open in astonishment.

As for-profit prisons give the US the world's highest rate of incarceration, it's worth knowing the effects on the people inside on both sides of the bars. Lunsford repeats the old guards' wisdom: for the first year you're not suited to the work -- and after the first year, you're not suited for anything else. She identifies with the men like her father and husband, who take no guff from anyone and achieves the coveted designation of "hard ass" -- the prisoners call her "Sarge" with respect. But she also sees the cost of the rigid system. It's all about choices, like everything. Lunsford has some hard choices to make.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compelling - couldn't put it down. March 15, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book is gritty, real, and easy to read. Like, couldn't put it down.

I've read some of this author's romantasy - erotica featuring demons, werewolves, etc. Really fun stuff; and she's a hell of a non-fiction writer as well.

You want to read this, you know you do. You'll love it as much as I did.

Now, if I could get her to write some dragon/Pern fantasy fiction, or killer mysteries with detectives a la JD Robb, I'd be a happy camper . . . :o)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Real, honest & inspiring February 17, 2014
By Kellie
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
People don't change unless they find something inside of themselves worth changing for. From beginning to end, I rooted for the author to find that "something" inside that would make her life worth fighting for. Learning about the life of a prison guard, especially from the female perspective, was fascinating to me and showed me a side of life most of us would never think about.

Real, raw and honest, this personal journey was important to share with the world. More people than we think go through similar situations and think they are alone. But we are not. Kudos to the author for sharing her story. I laughed, I cried, and I'm thrilled she is creating her "happy ever after".
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A raw honest story crying to be told February 9, 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Sara Lunsford's "Sweet Hell on Fire" grabbed me by the throat from the first words and didn't let go until the last pages. Her words were rough, raw, and so, so brave. I cried with her, laughed with her, and will never look at prisons - or the women and men who work and live in them - the same way.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Raw January 13, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was raw and honest. It gives a startling account of the way a profession dealing with criminals can infect someone's whole life. It kept me glued to it until the last page.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, raw, and hopeful
Sometimes it's frightening when life imitates art and the monsters from the pages or screens appear in real life. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Vivian Pounds-Gray
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
was a great book..Sara did a great job at writing and revealing her feelings...yes there is life after rape :)
Published 3 months ago by Sue Searcy
5.0 out of 5 stars Incredible
From the first line of this book, I was absolutely hooked on Ms. Lunsford's amazing story. I was equally enthralled with the stories from the prison as the pieces of her own life... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Rebecca Grimaldi
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping and insightful
When a book can touch you and make your stomach hurt, the writer's done something right. I wouldn't have wanted to live in the author's shoes but I strangely enjoyed the glimpse of... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Michelle Grey
5.0 out of 5 stars A++++++ book
Sara tells it like it is , she doesn't hold back. I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to everyone that enjoys true story's .. I can only wish I was half as strong as Sara . Read more
Published 4 months ago by Joy
4.0 out of 5 stars A strongly written book
This was a strongly written book! I was initially put off by the language but got used to it and understood that it formed an integral part of the style of the book. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Barbara R
5.0 out of 5 stars A peek into a world most can't imagine.
Sara Lunsford's "Sweet Hell On Fire" is an amazing read. It provides a gritty, unflinching look at a tumultuous year of her life. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Dante Dennett
5.0 out of 5 stars Redemption
This book is about choices, about personal growth, and about redemption. It was also a very interesting look into prison from the perspective of a woman guard in a men's... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jo
4.0 out of 5 stars This...is the Real Deal.
This...is the real deal. Unflinching and raw as a scab that never heals because you can't help but keep picking at it, digging for more blood, more truth. Read more
Published 6 months ago by JCS
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More About the Author

Sara Lunsford was a segregation officer at an all male maximum security facility and promoted to the rank of sergeant before leaving corrections to pursue a full time writing career. Sara's fiction has been published under pseudonyms in magazines, anthologies and novel length work. She is currently working on other nonfiction projects.

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