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Top customer reviews
The plot concerns a government attempt to assassinate an incarcerated civil rights activist.
Brawley spins the tale with authority, having been raised on prison grounds since a child; his family worked at several prisons in California.
While this book is a 'rough ride' it is well worth it by the time you reach the conclusion.
This is a well-written novel, even taking into consideration what I said in my opening paragraph. It concerns itself with the various social movements taking place during the early 1970s. It is about a mean-spirited family who spent their lives vacillating between reinventing themselves, trying to survive financially, the penal system, the drug culture, the con game, and prostitution. There were corrupt prison guards in the family, prison guards in the family who were corruptible, a bigger than life prison bully – who is also a member of the family, a beautiful, miscreant, water freak Hawaiian mixed-race woman; and the author lays out, in microscopic detail, everything that happened to the family, the prisoners, and the beautiful Hawaiian woman.
The main plot is to accomplish the assassination of a black militant leader whose name is Galliot. Wasco, a family member, a control freak inmate, mean bully, recidivist all his life, was chosen by higher-up state prison officials – and given certain prison perks – to do the dirty deed. While in prison Wasco set up a prison drug ring, took a prison junkie to fulfill his sexual and murderous flunky needs, and used his wiles to intimidate and/or coerce his prison guard(s) family into doing his will; some of his prison guard relatives were even proud of Wasco. The rest of the novel reveals what Wasco and everyone else in and around this family will do, knowingly or unknowingly, to bring about this assassination -- and, ultimately, blame someone other than himself or herself. I didn’t find a “true” protagonist or anyone for whom I could root. Arv, a family member and prison guard, was conned into taking an active role in the assassination. "Everyone" was ugly and emotionally flawed, in the physical and intellectual sense, except Moke and Arv (Arv was just physically unattractive). Moke was smart, beautiful, wild, cunning, emotionally defective, and traumatized. There were very graphic heterosexual and homosexual sex scenes, both in and out of the prison. The language graphically fit into the scenario of ignorant people, prisoners and prison life.
Some of this author’s writing and phrasing was so good that I felt it was among the best literature I have read. He could easily have made three novels from this book. By the way, I was correct, in that this was his first novel, according to his biography. I hope he has since begun to edit himself on the minutiae, or has hired a good editor.
I recommend this novel to those who are ready for the raw brutality of prisons, the violence of ignorance and intolerance, and the willingness of families to sacrifice each other for personal gain. Be ready to go for a long, raw, rough ride, through the viciousness of prisons and prison life, through the squalidness of the homes and buildings located on the prison grounds and surrounding areas, through the lawless, disturbed motivations and lewdness of the characters, and through several sections of scenic California as it was at that time.
Most recent customer reviews
sleazy. I feel that the book could been completed in half as many pages.Read more