Marcus Sakey was born in Flint, Michigan and graduated from the
University of Michigan. He is married
and lives in Chicago where he has recently completed his second novel, At the City's Edge (Jan 2008). To prepare for
The Blade Itself he shadowed
homicide detectives, learned to pick a
deadbolt in sixty seconds, and drank
plenty of Jameson.
Sakey was motivated to write a book after inviting author J.A. Konrath out for a beer following a speech Konrath gave at Columbia College, which Sakey attended for a short time. When they staggered out of the bar five hours later one particular comment of Konrath's was seared into Sakey's brain: "You could stay in school, and in a year youll have an MFA. Or you could leave and have a manuscript." Put that way, Sakey says the choice was easy!
theres a platform to The
Blade Itself, its the
impact of prison and the flaws
in our system of incarceration.
America imprisons more people
than any other nation, close to
two million inmates. Many states
spend more money on jails than
schools. Seventy percent of
inmates are illiterate. 200,000
are mentally ill. Amnesty
International has actually
condemned the American prison
And worst of all, prison is punitive. Because of the swelling population and shrinking budgets, there is almost no effort towards rehabilitation. There aren't programs to teach job skills, or even life skills. When they are released, inmates haven't learned anything except how to survive in prison.
Imagine spending seven years in maximum security. Learning to survive in a world built to hide the most dangerous of men.
And it got me wondering, what would that do to someone?"
- Marcus Sakey.
This article was originally published in January 2007, and has been updated for the
November 2007 paperback release.
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