ABOUT THE BOOK
In the early 1980’s, serial killer Clifford Olson rampaged through the lower mainland of British Columbia, raping and murdering eleven victims. His heinous cash-for-bodies deal foreshortened his trial, and resulted in the law currently on Canadian books that forbids criminals from benefiting financially from their crimes.
Olson was just the pimple on the hide of a misogynist culture, as this long poem sequence attests.
Sometimes a book project chooses its author, as this one did when the author recognized one of the victims from her photograph.
MY REVIEW- Ally
4 out of 5 stars
Stevenson’s novel is an interesting and unique profile of a murderer and criminal. Rather than write a nonfiction biography, he narrates the story through poetry. Each individual case draws you quickly in as Stevenson’s language provides just enough of the right details to keep you hooked. He demonstrates a true talent for wording as he tells a compelling and complete story while taking minimal time.
The perspectives of the poems change, but it’s interesting that many of them address the killer directly. They speak to him, asking questions as though to confirm certain parts. It adds another level to the story with an almost interactive experience. It also puts the audience in the killer’s headspace as they’re addressed as though they might be him. Largely, it’s impossible to truly understand how someone might commit murder. However, this format brings the audience closer to understanding than any other form I’ve read before. As only poems can, the book conveys acute emotional strands that the audience picks up on both consciously and subconsciously, digesting the motives and truths within the story.
DISCLAIMER: I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for writing a review. I was not obligated to give a positive review, and all thoughts are my own.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Richard Stevenson was born in Victoria, B.C., in 1952 and has lived in western Canada and Nigeria. A college English teacher by profession, he taught English, Canadian and African literature, Business Communication, Creative and Technical Writing, E.S.L., and humanities courses in high schools and colleges. A former Editor-in-Chief of Prism international, he served in various editorial, jury, and writing/arts group executive capacities. His own reviews and poems have appeared in hundreds of magazines, anthologies, e-zines, and journals published in Canada, the United States, and overseas. He performed with the jazz/ poetry group Naked Ear and rock music/YA verse troupe Sasquatch, and occasionally puts other ensembles together for book launches and performances and reviews books.