Wilson spent his entire life under the radar. Few people knew who he was and even less knew how to find him. Only two people even knew what he really did. He worked jobs for one very bad man. Illegal jobs no one could ever know about. Wilson was invisible until the day he crossed the line and risked everything to save the last connection to humanity he had. One day changed everything. Wilson saved his friends and earned the hatred of a vengeful mob boss, a man who claimed he was Charles Darwin's worst nightmare.
Wilson survived his transgression and went even deeper into the underworld of Hamilton becoming a ghost in the city - an unknown to almost everyone until he was paid back for his one good deed. It started with a simple job. Steal a bag from the airport and hand it off. No one said what was in the bag, and no one mentioned who the real owners were or what they would do to get it back. One bag sets into motion a violent chain of events from which no one will escape untouched. Wilson learns that no one forgets, no one gets away clean, and no good deed goes unpunished.
"Living in jail is like living in a foreign country. The customs and culture are different, almost alien, and so is the language."
A Priest in Hell is the compelling true story of life in the U.S. prison system. The book takes fodder for popular reality shows (like Cops) to a new level, giving the reader a frighteningly real sense of the tastes, sounds, smells, culture and lifestyle of jail.
On November 5, 2005, Randall Radic was arrested and charged with ten felonies. Desperation for a monied lifestyle led Radic, a pastor in the northern California community of Ripon, to first mortgage the home provided to him by his church, before selling off the church itself. His crime is exposed when a large bank deposit catches the attention of the authorities. Radic is subsequently convicted of embezzlement, forgery, and fraud, and he spends six months in a California jail before a plea bargain facilitates his release.
At 54, Radic is well above the average age of the prison population, and his background as a priest makes him both a target and a confidante within the prison walls. Through the book, Radic introduces the stories of several of his fellow inmates, detailing their crimes, cases, and struggles. He eventually earns his plea bargain by sharing confessions of a fellow inmate with the district attorney.
Radic considers his time in jail Dante's version of Hell. This is the gritty, painful reality of crime and consequence.
?"As accomplished as Jonathan Bennett is at using language, he's never fussy or precious about it. With his exacting, contemporary voice, part colourful reporter, part reluctant witness, his lines gain their effect by serving experience in the most necessary way possible, via clear-eyed attention and vivid diction. The result is an immediacy often lacking in other poetry. Civil and Civic's nimble narratives will crackle in your ear."
- David O'Meara, author of Noble Gas, Penny Black
The poems of Jonathan Bennett's second collection, Civil and Civic, probe for present meanings of civility and civic mindedness, search for boundaries between private and public realms, and question the sprawling and often unintended effects of transparency and obligation. Medicine, the military, science, public relations, social justice, media, business, and the environmental movement are just some of the worlds these poems inhabit.
Not without a spirit of play, in Civil and Civic Bennett emerges as a disquieting curator, giving the reader poetry that is relevant, humane, political, investigative, and outward looking. Yet, within which, he supplies voice to private moments, isolated or suppressed incidents, and to the happy accidents that can occur within language when irreconcilable spheres of influence meet and open up new meanings, ideas, hope even.
?We look away from his open mouth,
look instead at the corn, the crows
floating above the river in their private worries.
Tonight, when we turn in,
the candle will sputter and blow.
Pinched out easily, all flame
gives way to this wide black wing.
- excerpt from "Black Wing"
The poems in Ashland, originally published by ECW in 2003, lay the groundwork for Adamson's award-winning and internationally bestselling novel, The Outlander.
Neogothicism, the surrealist snapshot, feminist Western and postmodern parable are just some of the elements that feed Gil Adamson's second collection of poems. Adamson creates a world fully awash in violence and history, the absurdities of the frontier, the gorgeous terrors of death. Everything is simple, and yet nothing is as it seems.
Moving easily from prose poem to lyric, verbal portrait to improbable biography, Ashland leads us on a macabre tour of our nightmares, perverse secrets, and death-focused mythologies: "In the end we see ourselves. We last longer. The night opens its mouth, and we step in."
Neil Peart decided to drive his BMW Z-8 automobile from L.A. to Big Bend National Park, in Southwest Texas. As he sped along "between the gas-gulping SUVs and asthmatic Japanese compacts clumping in the left lane, and the roaring, straining semis in the right," he acted as his own DJ, lining up the CDs chronologically and according to his possible moods.
"Not only did the music I listened to accompany my journey, but it also took me on sidetrips, through memory and fractals of associations, threads reaching back through my whole life in ways I had forgotten, or had never suspected.? Sifting through those decades and those memories, I realized that I wasn't interested in recounting the facts of my life in purely autobiographical terms, but rather ? in trying to unweave the fabric of my life and times. As one who was never much interested in looking back, because always too busy moving forward, I found that once I opened those doors to the past, I became fascinated with the times and their effect on me. The songs and the stories I had taken for granted suddenly had a resonance that had clearly echoed down the corridors of my entire life, and I felt a thrill of recognition, and the sense of a kind of adventure. A travel story, but not so much about places, but about music and memories."
"You brought me back into this because you know what I am. I'm a grinder, I find out everything."
Bullets squared everything. Wilson left his old boss alive in exchange for a clean slate. Wilson held up his end of the bargain and stayed off the grid for two years. Two years of peace until a man came calling. The man brought a gun and a woman in his trunk. Thousands of miles from home, Wilson learns that the city doesn't let go so easily. The city is more than bricks; it is a machine running on the blood of hard men and women. The hardest man in the city remembers Wilson and he will stop at nothing to get him back.
A dangerous mobster's nephews are missing and the only suspects are his lieutenants. Wilson is pulled back to once again work under the radar - to quietly find out who is responsible, so it can be settled with screams. Wilson is back to being what he was. He's a grinder again. All bets are off and before he's done - everyone will pay.
?"You set me loose. Everything that happened was because you saw fit to use me as bait. And what was I on the hook for? You just wanted a bust you could attach your name to so you could get ahead. Don't try to pretend that you're Dudley Do-Right. You're just an opportunist with a badge."
They should have known better than to look for him. Wilson had been gone for two years until his old boss forced him to come home to be a grinder again. Wilson did the job he was blackmailed into doing and settled things, his way, with everyone. He was free - for two minutes.
A random car accident destroys everything and puts Wilson into the crosshairs again, but this time the gun is in the hands of a cop. Justice isn't blind in the city; it's as bent as the tip of a bullet. Dirty cops are using Wilson as bait and the only way for him to stay out of cuffs is to help put someone worse in them. Wilson picks a fight with the Russian mob and lures both cops and robbers into his own trap. Everyone is crooked in the city, but not everyone is a survivor.
In Plain Sight is the third book featuring reluctant mob-enforcer Wilson, following Darwin's Nightmare (2008) and Grinder (2009).
"Readers who like their mean streets really mean will be thoroughly satisfied." - Publishers Weekly, starred review, on Grinder
Both chronicle and confrontation, the poems of Jacob Scheier's debut work out and through notions of loss. As the death of a young man's mother instigates and informs these investigations, the realities of romantic failures become inextricably connected, and in the process More to Keep Us Warm maps the limitations, and breaking points, of the human heart. Questioning how and why we fall in and out of love becomes the collection's haunting refrain.
At the same time, Scheier's poems mourn the absence of both religious and cultural identity. Facing the painful and confusing losses of his life, the support of the only "tradition" the writer knows - an atheist, socialist upbringing - proves unsatisfying. In response, More to Keep Us Warm explores the formation of a new, complex sense of self as inherited belief systems fail. With humour, sardonic wit, and conversational charm, this search engages and struggles with Judeo-Christian tradition to become an intimate meditation on the nature of God in a secular world.