The Four Stages of Cruelty by Keith Hollihan

Thomas Dunne, $25.99, 294 pages, ISBN 978-0-312-59247-9

This week’s MBR is The Four Stages of Cruelty it’s a first novel and, oh boy, it’s a prison book.

You may have a job you love to hate; you might even work in a prison . . . but I’d bet none of you ever worked in a place like the fictional and “nightmarish” Dittsmarsh Penitentiary located somewhere in the Midwest United States.  This novel’s got so many twists and turns, it’s like being dropped in the middle of a cornfield maze –  blindfolded!  And it’s all because of a missing, inmate-drawn work of art which hides a secret so important some are willing to kill for it.  Guards, inmates and administrators are all mixed up in a stew of intrigue so thick you’ll be unable to tell the good ones from the bad ones right down to the last page.  This book will keep you busy long after you were supposed to go do chores.  I can’t wait to see what Keith Hollihan writes next.  He’s good.


John Dwaine McKenna