I started to review books as Father Ted in February 2015 in order to increase my digital footprint. Someone told me that the more I spread my name around, the better it would be for my book sales. Sadly, they couldn’t say when.

One book in particular grabbed my attention. It was ‘Closure’ written by Randall Wood. There was a lot to like in the way the story was written; the descriptive passages were superbly handled, and the characterization was terrific, but it was a ‘quirk’ at the head of each chapter that encouraged me to write this piece for my blog.

Randall Wood had posted a big clue to save me checking the chapter index. There had to be at least fifty as he had researched the figures for the prison population by State. In addition, he knew the proportion of recidivists by State too. By the end of the book, I discovered the overall number of prisoners. I also knew that between sixty and seventy percent of them were repeat offenders.

This was in 2009.

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In the story Randall Wood exploited the recidivist element. It was a fact that many inmates were in and out of jail all their lives. The prisons were no more than training grounds, turning them into more efficient criminals, rather than returning them to society as reformed citizens.

Killers languished on Death Row, lodging appeal after appeal. Lawyers found all sorts of loopholes to ensure their clients didn’t serve time.

Politicians defended the ‘right to bear arms’ despite all the evidence that the easy availability of firearms has led to thousands of unnecessary deaths.

It is now 2015. Are we any further forward?

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My own series featuring ‘The Phoenix’ deals with a stone cold killer, Colin Bailey. He works for a secret organisation ‘The Olympus Project’. The ideals and methods they follow echo those of the terrorist in ‘Closure’.

He targeted people who used every trick in the book to avoid paying the price for their crimes. He gave their victims ‘closure’ and sought it for himself, to make some sense of his own loss.

If the ‘system’ continues to fail us, will there be a real organisation such as ‘The Olympus Project’? Does one exist already? Is a man like ‘The Phoenix’ a necessary evil? Are we in fact all looking for someone to take up the fight on our behalf?

Consider this from a recent review of one of my books featuring Colin Bailey.

Bailey is actually a metaphysical representation of our darkest moments; the moments when we desire retribution for wrongs that are done to us, but unlike Bailey we do not have the ‘special skill set’ to deploy such reprisals. By tapping into this almost primal urge; to eradicate the evil that exists amongst us, Mr. Tayler has embedded subconsciously a connection that makes this book so engrossing. It is why we root for the anti-hero, and why we don’t want to see Bailey captured by the police.

Food for thought? If we take a long hard look around us we see so many injustices that it is difficult not to want someone to stand up and say “No more!”. Someone to then take on the battles we are unwilling to fight.

Everything we’ve been taught since childhood tells us it is wrong to think along those lines. Yet our anti-hero’s actions would bring ‘closure’ to the victims of crime; the recidivist element would be eradicated. Drug dealing, people trafficking, sexual exploitation and many other heinous crimes would be diminished. We have a dilemma; do we turn away from everything we’ve been taught and allow a vigilante killer or killers to clear up the mess. What’s the answer?

The answer, of course, is to fix the system.

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Categories: The Long Hard Road