My First Book Review
This review of Hard Time at City AM went out today.
BY ZOE STRIMPEL
REAL-LIFE Sherriff Joe Arpaio, lord of the Maricopa County Jail system in Arizona, is known (to his detractors) as the Angel of Death. He brags about spending less money feeding the inmates than the prison dogs; he makes everyone wear pink underpants and women are put on chain gangs. Look at his website – www.mcso.org – and you’ll get a sense of this man’s fervour for punishment.
His prison, then, is not the kind of environment a successful day trader from a happy family in Widnes is suited to. Yet this most dreadful of US prisons is just where Englishman Shaun Attwood wound up after a SWAT team busted him for money laundering and drug dealing at his Scottsdale Arizona apartment, where he lived a double life as dotcom millionaire and raver.
Hard Time is the gripping account of Attwood’s time among lethal gangsters, including the Aryan Brotherhood, and of living in fear amid sewage and cockroaches. At first, he is in shock – then he slowly adapts, learning how to avoid violence and garner some peace and quiet. Having only read books on finance before, he submerges himself in literature, psychology and philosophy in a quest to understand his past. He begins to write letters home, his first one with a golf pencil he sharpened on a cell wall. These became a blog attracting world-wide acclaim; they’re harrowing, horrifying and often funny.
Hard Time begins with Attwood’s arrest in the middle of the night and proceeds through his two years in jail prior to his sentencing to nine-and-a-half years in prison (he was released after six). It’s shocking, but readers will be cheered to know that for Attwood, the ending is happy, as he’s now back in the UK and free, spending his time giving talks on the perils of drugs.
Link to the review.
Link to the sewage blog.
Hard Time is now also on sale at the Book Depository.
I'm also doing a reading with the author of Try Me, Farah Damji, in London on 23 August · 18:30 - 20:00 at:
The Gallery Stoke Newington Library
Stoke Newington Church Street, London N16, 0JS
Facebook page for the reading.