Death Row Breakout by Edward Bunker
Six stories from the papers of one of America’s finest crime authors
Roger doesn’t mean for the preacher and his wife to die. Released less than a year earlier from San Quentin, he’s trying to make a living the only way he knows how: theft. His latest heist goes perfectly until his car breaks down. Sirens are closing in when an old black preacher stops to give him a lift. The police at the roadblock kill the elderly couple, but in the eyes of the law it’s Roger’s fault. And he will die in the gas chamber at San Quentin—unless he can break out first. Roger’s incredible story anchors this collection of short fiction by Edward Bunker, who knew better than anyone what it means to be a criminal, inside and outside of prison. In these stories, which were unpublished at the time of his death in 2005, he shows again the talent that made him such a remarkable writer.
“Edward Bunker is a true original of American letters. His books are criminal classics: novels about criminals, written by an ex-criminal, from the unregenerately criminal viewpoint.” —James Ellroy “At 40 Eddie Bunker was a hardened criminal with a substantial prison record. Twenty-five years later, he was hailed by his peers as America's greatest living crime writer.” —The Independent
“I don’t know if any politicians read Bunker. But they should.” —The Guardian
Edward Bunker (1933–2005) spent many years in prison before he found success as a novelist. Born in Los Angeles, he accumulated enough terms in juvenile hall that he was finally jailed, becoming at seventeen the youngest-ever inmate at San Quentin State Prison. He began writing during that period, inspired by his proximity to the famous death-row inmate and author Caryl Chessman. Incarcerated off and on throughout the next two decades, Bunker was still in jail when his first book, No Beast So Fierce
, was published in 1973. Paroled eighteen months later, he gave up crime permanently, and spent the rest of his life writing novels, many of which drew on his experiences in prison. Also an actor, his most well-known role was Mr. Blue, one of the bank robbers in Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs
. Bunker died in 2005.
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