Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.

  • Apple
  • Android
  • Windows Phone
  • Android

To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.

  • List Price: $14.99
  • Save: $1.14 (8%)
FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books.
Only 6 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
Sweet Hell on Fire: A Mem... has been added to your Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $25.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Used, good condition book. Average cover wear. Pages may have writing, underlining, highlighting and/or notes. Otherwise, pages remain in good condition. Exactly as pictured. Fast shipping from Amazon's fulfillment warehouse!
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

Sweet Hell on Fire: A Memoir of the Prison I Worked In and the Prison I Lived In Paperback – November 1, 2012

4.4 out of 5 stars 65 customer reviews

See all 5 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Price
New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback
"Please retry"
$13.85
$4.00 $0.01

Popular & highly-rated in Biographies & Memoirs
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail
$13.85 FREE Shipping on orders with at least $25 of books. Only 6 left in stock (more on the way). Ships from and sold by Amazon.com. Gift-wrap available.
click to open popover

Frequently Bought Together

  • Sweet Hell on Fire: A Memoir of the Prison I Worked In and the Prison I Lived In
  • +
  • Prisons and Prison Life: Costs and Consequences
Total price: $59.42
Buy the selected items together


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.
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks (November 1, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1402270763
  • ISBN-13: 978-1402270765
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (65 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #937,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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.
Comment 8 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Comment 9 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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".
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
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.
Comment 11 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition
Don't like to read prison stories. I've been working in prison settings as a registered nurse for over seventeen years. This story hit home. It was as real, and as true as a thing can be. Redemption does not come easily. Peace, and the courage to choose what to keep,and what to let go, is a gift even more rarely bestowed. This story left me with a sense of peace, and a lightness of being that is appreciated immensely. I recommend any one who works in law enforcement, and the public in general to read this book.
Comment 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to admit that this book is completely out of my comfort zone. With that being said as I read this book I began to see parallels between Sara's life and my own. Not only is this a gritty telling of one woman's experiences as a prison guard but her journey back to life through hell and beyond. The strength and conviction in this tale make this by far one of my mort treasured books.
Comment 3 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Sometimes it's frightening when life imitates art and the monsters from the pages or screens appear in real life. Sweet Hell on Fire is a raw, eye-opening looking into a year in the life of correctional office turned writer, Sara Lunsford. I have to applaud Ms. Lunsford's bravery at laying out her world for all to see. It can't be easy to expose one's open wounds to be scrutinized by readers, to allow strangers into your intimate thoughts and fears, and to reveal all the dark secrets we desperately want to hide.

As I read each day in Sara's life, the book made me laugh, want to cry, and think about the journey we all have to walk to find ourselves and love ourselves. Sometimes we forget that we don't all come from the same place. We look at situations and rationale from a jaded perspective. Sweet Hell on Fire gives us a mirror into a world filled with darkness, but a path lit with spark of kindness, respect, and love. It might not be formed in the molds of our own lives, but clearly present. You notice it in the inmates Ms. Lunsford interacted with in the correctional facility, the strained relationship with her family, the relationship with her husband and children, but most of all in her descriptions of herself.

Sweet Hell on Fire is a uncensored view into Ms. Lunsford's life. It's not pretty. The language is brutal. But it is an honest, intriguing, and well written read. Not for the faint of heart, but definitely an excellent read.
Comment One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse

Most Recent Customer Reviews

Set up an Amazon Giveaway

Sweet Hell on Fire: A Memoir of the Prison I Worked In and the Prison I Lived In
Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers. Learn more about Amazon Giveaway
This item: Sweet Hell on Fire: A Memoir of the Prison I Worked In and the Prison I Lived In