Vernon L. Oliver, still a young man, lives in a six-by-ten cell in a Florida prison. He has chosen the needle over the chair, has no desire to smell burned flesh on the day the state snuffs out his life. When his attorney suggests he write an autobiography to generate funds to cover legal fees incurred during the appeals process, Vernon sits down to pencil and paper and begins his narrative.
Miracles, Inc., Forrester's debut novel, tells the story of a charismatic slacker in love with Harley Davidson motorcycles and Rickie Terrell, a beautiful woman who quotes poetry and will not discuss her past. They live in an RV, smoke weed and drink beer, play Scrabble late into the night. His boss, a brilliant businesswoman with a far-reaching vision, offers him the chance to make more money than he ever thought was possible. He buys into the faith-healing scheme without reservation, and so begins the journey that leads to the stunning event that changes his life forever.
While alternating between Vernon's autobiography leading up to the act that lands him on death row and his life in prison is a structural choice that mostly pays off, the depiction of life in prison suffers compared to the inventiveness of Vernon's life as a sham faith healer.
There are terrible deeds throughout the novel, but they are accompanied by comedy and moments of tenderness. Forrest never explicitly makes this declaration, but the story speaks clearly enough: bad things can befall those who exploit the faith and prayers of others.
Starred Review. Showing the push-the-envelope spirit of a Terry Southern, Forrester has the makings of a formidable talent.
Amy Greene, bestselling author of Bloodroot
T.J. Forrester has achieved with his debut novel a rare blend of suspense, satire, and flawed but sympathetic characters. More than just a literary page-turner, Miracles, Inc. asks important questions about religion, belief, and the exploitation of our nation's faithful that I'm sure to be thinking about for a long time to come.
Death Row Syndrome According to Amnesty International's 2009 report, the USA's 37 legal executions in 2008 placed it fourth in the world after China (1718), Iran (346) and Saudi Arabia (102). However, this ranking needs to be taken with a pinch of salt as it does not adjust for population size; and does not take into account additional executions that may have taken place away from the public eye in many of the countries listed. Having said that, it is nonetheless interesting to note that the USA is one of the few so called developed nations to maintain the death penalty in both law and practice, as can be seen by this map.
The European Court of Human Rights has condemned the death penalty as inhumane, most especially that portion of it that keeps inmates (including the more than 3000 currently on death row in the USA) in a stasis-like environment for a protracted period of time. Psychologists and lawyers have asserted that living for a prolonged period of time in the confines of death row can lead to a psychotic state, known as death row phenomenon...
Infused with the lyricism and take-no-prisoners storytelling for which T.C. Boyle is justly famous, this is a surprisingly rich, allusive, and non-sentimental look at the ideals of the 60's generation and their impact on today's radically transformed world.
A Man Called Intrepid author dies aged 89(Dec 03 2013) William Stevenson, a journalist and author who drew on his close ties with intelligence sources to write two best-selling books in the 1970s, A Man Called...