HEAT, HUMIDITY, HELL: ANARCHY AT GREEN RIVER
© by Carolyn J. Seeley.
Reverse your image of a prison, like the negative of a photograph. What could be more safe than a glass enclosure, dedicated to the reform and social reengineering of convicts? What happens to men when light is punishment and discipline? Green River State Penitentiary in East Texas, imagined by English author Tim Willocks in his novel, Green River Rising, is a facility that sentences men to prison lives without darkness, to be scorched clean by light. Now, what happens when the prison warden's nineteenth century philosophy of prison reform meets twentieth century East Texas taxpayers, parole boards, politicians? This is Willocks' stage for his drama of a violent uprising, spurred by a warden with a failed dream and crumbling mind, who touches off the uprising for the sake of it--to achieve change through force, to move life along through sacrifice and blood, the more senseless and arbitrary, the better. Green River Rising is savage yet compelling; a page turner, an intelligent book. Well plotted, with memorable characters, Willocks' writing conveys the stifling sense of entrapment in a prison gone amok. However, the underlying themes of loyalty, survival, friendship, and love transcend the gore and give the book its depth. It is not light reading, but a gripping, intense tale rumored soon to be brought to a theater near you. Although Willocks wrote the screenplay, read the book before Hollywood gets its hooks in.