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Gringo Nightmare: A Young American Framed for Murder in Nicaragua Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 27, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
There is much pain in Volz's memoir of being a young American in a near-perfect frameup involving murder, tabloid headlines, police corruption, and political power plays in Nicaragua. In 2005, the author, then in his early 20s, established a bilingual magazine with a friend, settled in a small Nicaraguan town, and fell in love with the beautiful Doris Jiménez. Eventually, Volz moved to Managua, but remained close friends with Doris. So he was stunned in late 2006 to receive a call informing him that she was dead and even more stunned to find himself charged and harshly sentenced for her murder after a trial he describes as involving tampered evidence, coerced testimony, police incompetence, and betrayals. The vignettes of the prisons and cold-blooded inmates are scalding. After a bold campaign by his family and friends to put pressure on his captors, Volz was released and deported in December 2007. Volz describes a web of sinister international political acts involving even Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega, whom he calls corrupt and duplicitous in this tale of everything that can go south for an American facing uncertain justice abroad. 8 pages of b&w photos. (May)
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When his former girlfriend, Doris Jimenez, was murdered in the small town where she lived, Volz became the primary suspect even though he was miles away in Managua at the time. He was a twentysomething American starting a new publication in Nicaragua, resented by some of the locals for what was perceived as his wealth and power. Despite a strong alibi and no physical evidence linking him to the crime, Volz was tried and sentenced to 30 years in prison. He began serving his sentence at one of the most notorious prisons in Nicaragua, where he had to navigate the violence and corruption to maintain his mental and physical health. His mother launched an international campaign to free her son, garnering press attention from CNN to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post to counteract the scorching coverage of the crime in the local media, which portrayed him as an arrogant American looking to get away with murder, an image aided by the victim's mother. Volz was finally released after spending more than a year in prison and suggests that a cover-up of the identity of the real murderer goes to the top of Daniel Ortega's administration, known for its corruption. --Vanessa Bush
Top customer reviews
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Gringo Nightmare is a courageous look into the eye of injustice. As a follower of Eric's story from the very beginning and a friend to his family, nothing compares to hearing his nightmare told in his own words. He gives the readers an insightful and deeply personal look at the corrupt judicial system in Nicaragua. His journey to Nicaragua, the bridges he tried to build between the American and Nica people; his wrongful conviction and imprisonment are all captured in excruciating detail and heartbreaking emotion. We see the heart of a true warrior in Christ as Eric relied on his faith to get him through the darkest days in his life.
Minor Kindle note: at one point there was a reference to 'page number so-and-so' in the book. On a Kindle, there are no pages, so this was pretty unhelpful.
Solid 4.5 stars, which I'll round up to a 5, feeling generous!