Cynthia's Reviews > The Four Stages of Cruelty: A Novel

The Four Stages of Cruelty by Keith Hollihan
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Dec 17, 10

bookshelves: books-read-in-2010
Read in December, 2010

“Four Stages of Cruelty” is a precise description of life behind bars as seen through both the prisoner’s and the guard’s viewpoints. It’s chilling. Kali is one of the few female guard’s at her facility and she feels like an outsider. Nineteen year old Josh is one of the youngest and newest prisoners and is completely lost as he tries to settle into life behind bars. Hollihan tells his story through both Kali and Josh’s eyes though Josh’s voice rings truer.

Josh’s next door cellmate Crawley has drawn a cartoon booklet and when feels his life is endangered he gives it to Josh for safekeeping. Josh doesn’t know what the drawings mean but senses they’re important so he tries to pass the booklet to Kali when she escorts him to his father’s funeral. Kali refuses to take it but continues to worry about its significance. She begins to investigate as riots break out in the prison knowing the booklet and the escalating violence are related. There are lots of twists and turns and a great ending in this book. Hollihan is very successful in keeping the reader’s interest though Kali comes across as a bit mechanical. His play with who is more imprisoned, the jailer or the jailed, is fascinating and clearly delineated; the best part of the book in my opinion. I can’t wait to read more from Hollihan.
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message 5: by Teresa (last edited Dec 17, 2010 08:13PM) (new)

Teresa Your review is tantalizing, C.

Interesting cover.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Sounds like a fascinating concept. Quite cinematographic.


Cynthia Thanks you guys. T i liked the cover and kept looking at it trying to tie it into the description of the graphics book he described but I couldn't see the dove tail. And Troy you're right, this could easily be filmed.


message 2: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Cynthia wrote: "T i liked the cover and kept looking at it trying to tie it into the description of the graphics book he described but I couldn't see the dove tail."

Thanks for answering my unasked question, C. :) That's exactly what I was wondering.


message 1: by Maria (new)

Maria Great review - sounds fascinating!


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