Review: Prison Time by Shaun Attwood

Prison Time by Shaun Attwood
Prison Time by Shaun Attwood

So I have just finished the last in the Shaun Attwood ‘Time’ series, and wow, it was emotional. The sequel to ‘Hard Time’ follows ‘English’ Shaun as he journeys through Arizona’s prison system serving time for distributing Ecstasy. The series charts his rise from a poor English student to a drugs kingpin, then right down to a prisoner in a system designed to make you fail.

Having read the whole series in chronological order (Party Time, Hard Time and then Prison Time) I was expecting this to be the most difficult part of the saga, and I wasn’t wrong. As gripping and difficult to put down as the previous two, it benefits from Shaun’s finely tuned, almost journalistic, style of writing. Which captures the drama and feeling of the moment while creating an accurate documentation of what his surroundings where like.

We are introduced to some amazing characters throughout the book, both scary and genuine. From She-Ra, a tall transsexual who becomes friends with Shaun during his spell on the low security yard. Another is a great giant of a man is T-Bone, a kind of dark knight of the prison, who puts his life on the line protecting those who are weaker then him from prison rape. The person who seems to have the most effect on Shaun in ‘Two Tony’s’, a mafia hit man who  has left a trail of bodies from New York to LA.

One thing that stands out to me in this book is how genuine and touching Shaun’s naivety when it comes to women is, from Jade to She-Ra. Maybe it is down to him looking for the best in people, but in this book we see love, heartbreak and confusion in equal measure.  I especially liked the confusion that arose when he met Gina, who he describes as being as close to a women that you will meet in an all-male prison. After being in prison, where the constant search for love and companionship is part of everyday life for that long, I can sort of understand where he comes from.

We see Shaun develop his caring and nurturing side within this book, even to the point of developing an almost ‘guru’ persona in the prison. But not everything is smooth sailing, from arguments with others over his blog to a system that seems to be out to get him. Shaun battles not just to stay out of trouble, but to get out alive.

As with all the other books in the series it is dark, shocking, funny and really emotional right to the end. I must admit I am really sad the series is now over for me and will hope that one day Shaun writes a book about his return to normal life in England.

I give it 5 out of 5.

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Review: Party Time by Shaun Attwood

Party Time by Shaun Attwood
Party Time by Shaun Attwood

What can I say apart from he has done it again.

After reading “Lessons from a Drug Lord” I was really looking forward to reading more from the English Shaun series, and I must say, it didn’t disappoint. As I am yet to read “Hard Time” or “Prison Time” I am unsure what happened when he was inside, but one thing I am sure of is that he crafted his writing skills to a fine art. This book flowed and captivated me from the first page to the last. With an effortless writing style that made it hard, if not impossible, to put down. Finishing this 288 page book took me less than 2 days, which for me is sort of amazing.

The mood is set with a brilliant first chapter that is so evocative it almost makes me wish I was born in the heady days of the rave scene. His fears and anxieties melting away with the chemical taste of Ecstasy and the beginning of what will lead to a dazzling story of sex, drugs and dance music.

We then step into a time machine to learn about Shaun’s past in his small home town. Stories of days spent with Wild Man in the ‘Thinking Tree’ lead you to realise that, in Shaun, there has always been this thirst for success and adventure that would eventually lead to his downfall.

After moving to be with his aunt in Phoenix, Shaun leads us into his life as a trader and his discovery of the blossoming rave scene in Arizona. Here we discover the “wolves” who will inevitably call him to the slaughter. Fed by the lifestyle and fame that came with his ‘enterprise’ Shaun builds an empire on the backs of his friends and students who are infatuated by the “English Shaun” persona. In the end, as is expected, it all comes crashing down.

There are many moments where you really feel the sincerity and kindness of Shaun, especially when talking about his close circle of friends or girlfriends. Wild Man, although clearly crazy and very dangerous (don’t come after me please!) is a loveable rouge.

I am left feeling frustrated that he didn’t meet Claudia earlier in his life so that maybe he wouldn’t have gone so far down this path. She comes across as being his guardian angel, who he describes in such fond and cute terms. There is real affection there and it is a shame that life took them in opposite direction.

Overall one of the best books I have read in the true crime genre and I sincerely recommend it.

5 out of 5 stars!!

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