tirsdag den 3. maj 2011
P is for Prison
- thank you to Kerrie, Mystery of Paradise, for hosting the alphabet in crime meme -
While most traditional crime novels end when the criminal is apprehended, perhaps sentenced to prison, some thrillers include long sections where we follow an inmate of a prison, or where a character has just been released from prison.
In Belinda Bauer´s Blacklands, we meet Arnold Avery, the paedophile murderer who has already spent several years in Dartmoor Prison. Avery´s way of handling life is prison is being the model prisoner, keeping to himself and doing what he can to achieve an early release. Another aspect of the book is the powerful psychiatrist and his importance for the prisoner´s chances of being released.
In Gretelise Holm´s Møgkællinger, Jonas Kamper goes to prison for a murder he claims he did not commit. For the good-looking and charming teacher it is a shock to realize that there are prison warders who just do not like him and are ready to abuse their power if he breaks any of their unwritten rules.
In Simon Brett´s The Witness at the Wedding (to be reviewed later), Michael Brewer is released after thirty years in prison. In this story an important theme is what happens when someone returns to society after having been locked up for so many years.
A similar plot can be found in Brian McGilloway´s Gallows Lane which begins when James Kerr is released from prison. Inspector Benedict Devling is told to keep an eye on the ex-con to find out if he really found Jesus or if he is bent on revenge.
What is your favourite thriller about life in prison?
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Three Seconds is set largely in a prison; one learns a few details one wished one had not such as how/where to hide drugs. It's an exciting book, though stretches credibility (eg the part about the prison library lending system).
Another book featuring strong prison scenes is Leigh Giarratano's Black Ice- not a very realistic read either (rather Martina Cole-y) but fast-paced.
Perhaps the best novel I've read about prison is After the Fire by Karen Campbell, a superb indictment of the Scottish criminal justice system, and in particular how prison fails completely to rehabilitate or reform people. It's a serious book and well worth a read.
Dorte - An excellent choice for "P!" I like the 'photo, too :-). I agree with you about Blacklands - fine example :-). And although Jeffery Deaver's Sleeping Doll and Martin Clark's The Legal Limit don't focus on life in prison for their main plots, they both depict what prison life does to people and how people live there.
I haven't read a lot of novels where the main characters is in prison but I do like the premise of the books you have just mentioned. I want to check out Blacklands now.
Interesting post (and fun photo)!
I'm not sure I've read any books like this. I do have "Blacklands" in my Kindle, though, waiting for the RIP Challenge in the fall.
Not exactly a thriller, I love the movie "Shawshank Redemption" as far as prison life goes.
Maxine: I´d probably like that one by Karen Campbell a lot; her debut was fine.
Margot: I was reading Simon Brett´s book when I came up with the idea.
Clarissa: Blacklands is a near-perfect debut.
Kelly: I am sure you´ll love Blacklands. And I had a very nice stay in my Edinburgh ´prison´ together with a nice blog reader who showed us around in the city.
P for Prison. Of course. A terrific pick. I'm trying to remember if I've read any books set in or near a prison...All I can think of is SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION and I didn't read that, just saw the movie.
I'm not familiar with the books you mentioned. I'll have to take a look.
Thank you, Yvette. Blacklands and Gallows Lane are really fine thrillers, Brett´s book is more cosy but also a good story. The Danish one has not been translated, and as it is her weakest novel so far you won´t miss that much (in my opinion).
Dorte: You have put together an interesting post.
I just finished The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Neville where the hero was deeply affected by his time in the Maze prison in Northern Ireland during the "troubles'.
Bill: it sounds intriguing. I hope you had a great trip to Denmark, by the way.
Dorte: We had a very good week in Denmark. Our Danish friends, their friends, actually all the Danish people we met, were very hospitable
Bill: good! I think most Danes would be hospitable towards people they know, but we are not always regarded as hospitable towards those we don´t know. Part of it is reservation, part of it that we don´t communicate in the same way as e.g. my British friends.
I'm rather fond of the photo too! (My current location lacks such scenic places to be locked up...)
I don't think I've read that many book with a prion connection (does Dickens count?) Perhaps something I should look into. It's certainly a television staple.
Ah, Lauren, my good old cell mate. I was so happy to have you there together with me!
Dickens definitely counts, and I am sure he has a lot to say about Victorian prisons.
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