Roy Harper, who has escaped three times — twice from the State Penitentiary at Parchman —has written two crime novels now from his small cell there, editing each one on an illegal cellphone. Both ‘Shank’ and ‘Heist’ are out with Crime Wave Press.
Jerry Mitchell reports for the Clarion Ledger. Read the full story.
Here’s the opening paragraph of ‘Shank’.
“Buck, that’s what they call home brew here. It’s wine made from fermented fruit and it usually tastes pretty damned awful. Dirty socks; turn that smell to a test and that’s what buck puts me in mind of.
“In search of ways to escape reality most inmates will consume anything; subject their system to any mood-altering substance in pursuit of a high. They’ll drink Windex or squeeze the fluid out of stick deodorant for its alcohol.
“Myself, I’ll drink a little buck or smoke a little weed now and then to take the edge off and relax, but my favorite mood-altering activity comes from exercise, especially running and weight training. Standing an even six foot in my socks and a few pounds under two hundred, I’m healthy and fit.”
A recent Amazon review:
Having spent time in prison myself, the first thing I’d like you to know is that Roy Harper’s terminology is accurate. For example, “Buck” is some horrible tasting, and I mean horrible, prison wine (the fruit, typically oranges taken from the Kitchen, does smell like dirty socks once fermented and added to the toilet water) and can usually be found in toilets for celebrations, such as New Year’s Eve. This very first word brought me back to my own prison experience, and I can tell you I was shell shocked. Immediately I felt I was back. For this reason, if you are looking for an authentic prison novel, guess what? You’ve found the real deal.