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Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite
"Portrait of a Prisoner" by Martin Line opens with the sentencing of David Cuthbertson to 7 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. David is a dock worker who could have been much more had his family situation been more stable. He is a gifted artist and has an aptitude for science and mathematics. When David arrives in prison, he is fortunate in getting a cellmate who becomes his prison mentor as well as his friend. David becomes a force for good in the prison: establishing the Orphans, a group that help non-gang prisoners survive, talking a distraught prisoner off a roof after learning that his wife would leave him, and setting up a fund that would help ex-cons set up small businesses or find work and prosper after they are released.
"Portrait of a Prisoner" is a riveting read, one I did not want to put down and was sorry to finish. Line creates real characters, both the heroes and villains, and there are both in this story. I particularly enjoyed David's imaginary cafe and looked forward to passages where Plato and Socrates would play with their coffee and discuss math, gravity and other topics. It was fun to see Plato employing Socratic method on Socrates. I love math and enjoyed any references to David's interests in that field; however, those who hate math will be relieved to find little actual math in "Portrait of a Prisoner". This is a positive and enlightening book, which was somewhat surprising given the title. It was surely an absolute delight to read. I highly recommend it.