Smart and powerful, Inside Out by author Jack Kearney delivers an emotional palette that is hard to forget. Flirting with typical prison antagonists and a pseudo-familiar plot, he neatly sidesteps the spectre of predictability to deliver a refreshingly original, realistic and highly believable narrative. Moving along at a frantic pace the reader is given a sobering glimpse of the extreme conditions created by the American correctional system as protagonist Danny Belson is forced to adapt to his brutal new surroundings or die. It makes you realise the unjust nature of the world we live in, and how the worst things can happen to the most undeserving people. On this level it serves as thought provoking social commentary and a poignant reminder that a system designed for reform all too often drives people to become far darker versions of themselves by the simple necessity of survival. Kearney captures this with well observed dialogue and an array of eclectic characters, but he also leaves room for acts of humanity and compassion and it's this contrast that will linger in the minds of many readers.
It is strongly recommended.
Devoid of contrivance or undue complexity, Inside Out delivers a highly satisfying and memorable read from an author deserving of your attention.
"a fantastic read"
Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers' Favorite
In a great book by debut author Jack Kearney, Inside Out: One Actor's Nightmarish Journey of Incarceration, we follow the story of Danny Belson, a man used to playing inmates, but not of actually being one. Finding himself in the highly unique situation of becoming incarcerated next to men that he had recently trained in a prison acting program, Danny already has friends and enemies at the Medium Security Federal Prison in Lompoc when he is sent there as a convicted murderer. From living an untroubled life filled with beaches, auditions and volleyball, to navigating the intricacies of prison social order within the span of a very few months, Danny realizes that his learning curve is short and he'll need to use every skill he has, including those as an actor, but this time, it's not for entertainment, it's for his very survival.Inside Out was a fantastic read. Engaging, entertaining, fast-paced and exciting, this book had a truly unique story to tell. I read a lot and I can honestly say that I don't think I have ever read a book with a plot like this before. In a world of cookie-cutter story lines, there is much more to like about author Kearney's debut work, including his ability to create characters that are well-developed and three dimensional, descriptions of both the acting world and the prison world that seem so realistic that it seems likely that he's spent time in both places, and writing such a great book that the reader will just not be able to put it down until it's done. Inside Out would appeal to any reader who loves suspense, creativity in writing style, or simply a great work of fiction. This is Jack Kearney's first novel, but I certainly hope to see more from this very promising new author.