The Fourth Side

A Prison Odyssey

Non-Fiction - Memoir
211 Pages
Reviewed on 02/25/2018
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Author Biography


It’s etched on everything I own and everything I am. In my former life, I had a name, now I have no reason to even remember it. I’m just a breathing number, a mere possession of the state.

Losing your freedom can only be equated to a disease ravaging your body. Once it slips past a certain point, it is virtually impossible to get back. The only thing left for most people in this position is to stare endlessly at the ceiling looking for answers…I never found them.

This occurs night after sleepless night before the darkness sadistically attempts to wreak havoc on your sanity, especially after there are no more “what ifs” to wonder about.

The last step in this process is something that robs your soul right from underneath you. I guess you could say, I was on the brink until I realized they could steal my body, but not my words…

Zap Tales

    Book Review

Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite

As one person commented on Zap Tales' blog, “I honestly don’t know where to begin.” The Fourth Side: A Prison Odyssey zapped me too…and how! When I began reading, I knew I was about to enter a world I knew only from movies and TV and once I finished reading this superb book, I knew one other thing for sure: those movies and TV shows didn’t even come close to the reality of a life behind bars, and for many of the inmates, the life they led before they ended up behind bars as well. The Fourth Side: A Prison Odyssey is a straight from the gut series of connected stories that detail, often graphically, what really goes on inside the prison system. Readers will find themselves thinking that those incarcerated are merely the criminals who got caught, tried and sentenced while the real criminals are the ones responsible for their becoming criminals and, once imprisoned, for keeping them criminals.

Many of these inmates, in fact more than 90% of them, turned to a life of crime because of the crimes committed against them when they were still children. They suffered mental, physical and sexual abuse at the hands of people they trusted who were supposed to love them: their parents and/or guardians. No story in the book illustrates this more than the last one about Adam. While Americans are still in shock over the mass shooting that occurred at the Parkland, Florida school on February 14, 2018, one only has to read Adam’s story for a possible explanation of how one teen could take an AR-15 rifle and massacre fellow students and teachers.

Readers come away from The Fourth Side: A Prison Odyssey shocked and saddened, but enlightened. It’s a marvellous thing the author, currently serving a life sentence for murder, has done by publishing this book, the proceeds of which go to various charities including Make-a-Wish and Autism Speaks. A gifted writer, a true wordsmith, Zap Tales raises awareness of the tremendous abuse being suffered by children everywhere and how this abuse can lead children to a life behind bars. This is one of the most important and eye-opening books I have ever read. I encourage all readers to buy it and read it. You’ll never forget it.