Don't Blame Me:
Reviewed by: Marquist
Every so often, a new writer blazes onto the literary scene with an unforgettable debut book that is thrilling and intriguing. Jonathan Z. Queen is such a talent, and his raw, blistering tales of hard-bitten convicts make for the most exciting, authentic collection of short stories I have ever read.
Jonathan Z. Queen’s Don’t Blame Me: The Convict Chronicles is a collection of short stories and poems about the trials and tribulations people go through which ultimately land them in prison. Each tale is so well written and descriptive that you will feel like you are actually in the prison cell with the convicts. This book evokes terror, laughter and compassion and will definitely leave a lasting impression on you after reading it.
Each story is unique in its own way and takes you on a different journey. In the spoken word performance piece entitled “Next”, you will witness the reactions of five inmates when they overhear the nurse at a correctional facility say one of the men tested positive for HIV. This story is very powerful and captures the various ways a person can contract this deadly disease.
Other tales include a girl who is accused of killing her father; a very wealthy man who finds himself involved in a federal crime he didn’t commit; there is a drive-by shooting that goes awry at the last moment; there is a miracle; there are several tragedies; and there are several life changing moments. Queen ends the collection with a story entitled “Don’t Blame Me” which will leave you on the edge of your seat wanting more.
Most of the stories in this book share certain themes: life in prison; a fascination with drugs and violence, even among men who aren't career criminals. A diverse collection of tales, Don’t Blame Me: The Convict Chronicles is guaranteed to strike an assortment of nerves across a wide audience.
Queen is a great example of how a person can change their life after spending years in prison. He spent his teenage years as a drug dealer. At the age of 23, he was labeled a career-criminal and sentenced to 10 years in a federal prison. Today, he is happily married and is dedicated to helping individuals and organizations excel through education, drug and alcohol abstinence, communication and self-improvement.
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