Inside Out

One One Actors Nightmarish Journey of Incarceration

Fiction - Suspense
206 Pages
Reviewed on 08/26/2015
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

For most of my life I was a struggling actor. I appeared on such shows as Mash, WKRP in Cincinnati, and General Hospital. Back in the mid-seventies I attended the very prestigious American Academy of Dramatic Arts where I was part of the first graduating class in Los Angeles. After that I joined the ranks of the other sixty thousand would-be stars who acted in showcase plays, occasionally going on professional auditions, and attending a weekly workshop. The women that ran my workshop got involved in an interesting experiment conducting an acting workshop to a group of prisoners at the Federal Correctional Institution, Lompoc, California, providing she could get a male to assist her. I was excited at the possibility of being part of something that unique and agreed to be her assistant. As it turned out, nothing of any real consequence came about, but it was a very interesting weekend that few if any will ever experience. I met some very fascinating guys, some of whom I got along with and others that—let’s just say, I was glad that there were guards stationed just outside of our room.

After I got back to my regular life, I had a scare that made me think, what would happen if someone were to be part of this program and, by a twist of fate, end up back inside as an inmate? Inside Out is that story.

Waiting for that big break I had many survival jobs typical of the actors of the '70s and '80s. But sales seemed to offer the only possible way to make a living and contrary to popular belief, I discovered that a salesperson is made not born. In fact, commissioned sales can be almost as frustrating as breaking into show business. I am currently working out of my home, on commission, for a newsletter publishing company. I have been married twice. My first, which ended in divorce gave me my beautiful daughter Shannon. I lost my second wife of ten years to cancer in 2012. Now 63, I currently reside in Northern California with my Yorkie-Poo Toby.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Tracy A. Fischer for Readers' Favorite

In a great book by debut author Jack Kearney, Inside Out: One Actor’s Nightmarish Journey of Incarceration, we follow the story of Danny Belson, a man used to playing inmates, but not of actually being one. Finding himself in the highly unique situation of becoming incarcerated next to men that he had recently trained in a prison acting program, Danny already has friends and enemies at the Medium Security Federal Prison in Lompoc when he is sent there as a convicted murderer. From living an untroubled life filled with beaches, auditions and volleyball, to navigating the intricacies of prison social order within the span of a very few months, Danny realizes that his learning curve is short and he’ll need to use every skill he has, including those as an actor, but this time, it’s not for entertainment, it’s for his very survival.

Inside Out was a fantastic read. Engaging, entertaining, fast-paced and exciting, this book had a truly unique story to tell. I read a lot and I can honestly say that I don’t think I have ever read a book with a plot like this before. In a world of cookie-cutter story lines, there is much more to like about author Kearney’s debut work, including his ability to create characters that are well-developed and three dimensional, descriptions of both the acting world and the prison world that seem so realistic that it seems likely that he’s spent time in both places, and writing such a great book that the reader will just not be able to put it down until it’s done. Inside Out would appeal to any reader who loves suspense, creativity in writing style, or simply a great work of fiction. This is Jack Kearney’s first novel, but I certainly hope to see more from this very promising new author.

Roy T. James

Inside Out by Jack Kearney begins with the rather pensive ramblings of Danny Belson, a trained, aspiring actor in search of a role, and waiting for his break. Roles do appear, but either the cast happens to change or the project gets shelved, but attempts to find the next opportunity land him with new jobs, like the one involving teaching acting to inmates of a prison. Just when his career was about to take off, he gets involved in a murder incident and is housed in the same prison. Will his experience with the prison and the travails of a prisoner help him launch his career afresh?

Inside Out by Jack Kearney portrays the struggles of those who want to be in Tinsel Town, demonstrating very well the unpredictability always linked with such efforts. The ambiance surrounding struggling actors, the frequent queries to the agent who is already fed up, the hungry search for chances and auditions, and the lingering distrust are portrayed realistically. The part dealing with prison violence, of rape as well as its retribution, shook me up by its naked savagery, unsuitable for a wannabe actor. However, the masterly use of flashbacks can be clearly seen in this story and so also is the punchy dialog. A good read, this can be a worthy addition to one's library of excellent novels.