Dannemora

Dannemora: Two Escaped Killers, Three Weeks of Terror, and the Largest Manhunt Ever in New York State

This is my second book on this breakout, so I’m fairly familiar with the subject. The author retired from 25 years in corrections and was born and raised in that area. He is currently a municipal court judge. I was interested in the subject so I thought I’d go for another viewpoint. This book is a good mix of background on the escapees, and the lead up to the escape, the two employees that were involved, and then the story of the escape itself. The writing is fine and moves along well, making this a good book for those interested in the topic. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Charles A. Gardner, and the publisher for my fair review.

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Publisher: Kensington Books – 272 Pages
Publication: Feb 26th, 2019

RATING: 4/5 Stars

The AuthorCharles A. Gardner is a municipal court judge and retired correction training lieutenant in Malone, New York, the far-upstate town where he was born and raised. His twenty-five-year career in New York State Department of Corrections included working as a correction officer, sergeant, and lieutenant. He had experience working in medium- and maximum-security facilities including stints at Clinton Correctional Facility in Dannemora and the maximum-security prisons of Sing Sing, Bedford Hills, Great Meadow, and Upstate. Gardner served on the Department of Corrections’ emergency response team (CERT), which played a critical role in the search for the 2015 prison escapees. He lives with his wife, Penny, and their Samoyeds, in the North Country. Visit him at http://www.charlesgardner.com.

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The Prison Torture in America

The Prison Torture in America: Shocking Tales from the Inside

This is the author’s book from the time he went to prison after he says he was framed by the government. While he was there, he saw many instances of prisoners that were denied basic healthcare he says, and after seeing some egregious cases he felt he had to try to document it. He shares the stories he got from inside, 15 cases of prisoners who were tortured by being refused for long periods of time to have the health care they needed. You may find it shocking, I know I did. We are always hearing about inmates getting free medical care, maybe having to request it and having to wait a bit for it, but getting it. From what he learned during his time inside, the other prisoners told him that they have long been deprived of medical care, and he found a few that would talk to him on the record, using an alias here.

The games he says that are played with the request forms in these cases seemed to be endless in order to put them off indefinitely while they often become more and more ill. It wasn’t just the occasional odd case either, it was 9 out of 10. It also seemed to have an auto-fail feature built in that if they got too far up the chain and got too close to getting their request met. Sometimes they were kept waiting so long that they were nearly beyond help. An eye-opening read about how widespread it is through the prison system from his research talking with prisoners who have been in and out of prisons all over the country for decades.

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It is like a second more brutal punishment you get if you were unlucky enough to become ill or have health problems. You’d learn that you didn’t even have basic human rights to health care, no matter how hard you begged, explained, or suffered. A very worthwhile read. There is also a companion book titled “Prison Papers” that has all of the documentation backing up the stories in this book that he collected by mailing them out to secure addresses while he was in the prison. This should be read by anyone who has an interest in penal institutions, or has any kind of connection with them, even if it’s just from paying taxes. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Paul Singh, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: Science Literacy Books – 490 pages
Published: Feb 2nd, 2019

RATING: 4/5 Stars

The Author- Paul Singh is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the founder and president of Singh Global initiatives, a philanthropic organization that promotes health and science education worldwide. His lifelong passion is bringing scientific literacy to the public for the benefit of humanity and alleviating suffering caused by poverty, disease, and incurable illnesses. He is the author of Discovering Our World and The Great Illusion. He lives in Menlo Park, California. Paul Singh is an American biochemist, research-scientist, surgeon physician, and a urogynecologist. He is the author of critically acclaimed investigational works, Discovering Our World, The Great Illusion, The Seduction of Religion, Guilty at Gunpoint, The Death of the Rule of Law, and Prison Papers Paul Singh is a biochemist, mathematician, surgeon-physician and a Urogynecologist. He is the author of critically acclaimed books: Discovering Our World: Humanity’s Epic Journey from Myth to Knowledge and The Great Illusion: The Myth of Free Will, Consciousness and the Self. He is the founder and president of Singh Global Initiatives, a philanthropic public charity that promotes health and science education worldwide. SGI is also engaged in fostering social and economic justice by informing the public about government and corporate corruption and ways to combat it.

Guilty at Gunpoint

Guilty at Gunpoint: How the Government Framed Me

This story is written by Doctor Paul Singh, who moved to the United States to get away from the corrupt system in India to make a fresh start where he believed things were fair. You get the feeling at times that the author feels like he’s Alice gone through the looking glass, as he tells his story how he was working as an ob/gyn doctor at his practice in the US when one day there are a couple of agents come in from the FDA saying they just want to ask him a few questions. So his nurse directs them to his office and preps him to meet with them. They have heard about the Intra-Uterine Devices (IUD’S) he’s implanted in female patients as a form of long-term birth control. It seems they are kind of ignorant of how it all works, by the way too, so could he fix them up with a sample of one and provide a crash course on them too?

So Dr. Singh tells them all about the German IUD’s he gets through his Canadian supplier who handles the shipping for him. They are FDA approved here in the US and are as good or better quality. The same weight copper, and best of all, they are about ¼ of the price of the US ones made by big pharma. He gets on a roll and goes on a bit of a rant against the FDA and big Pharma, and how greedy big Pharma is, charging such exorbitant prices that almost none of his patients can afford the US IUD and would have to go without or use other methods if he weren’t able to source the other one through his Canadian contact. Eventually, he notices they aren’t saying a whole lot during his rant. As they are wrapping up, they tell him that they need one of each type of IUD that he is currently using on patients to take back with them. He is also to hold off on doing any more implants until they have tested and approved by the Agency and he gets back to him with word that the imported ones are safe for use. He had to cancel some patients, one a couple of times. But finally, after getting reassurance that the German ones are still ok to use, Singh continues on with his practice.

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A couple of weeks later his office and patient rooms are raided with armed agents storming the premises, rifling through his patient files and taking over the computer system after making the IT guy give them the passcode, and began downloading files. Dr. Singh is baffled at this new interruption and attitude. He’s puzzled to see a man from the previous questioning back again when he was told everything was settled. But that agent won’t answer him, and the agent who seems to be in charge keeps yelling at him, asking him questions. Instead, he’s questioned about a patient he saw and it’s insinuated he refused to refused to remove the IUD after the patient requested it.  One thing led to another, and Singh finally realizes that something amiss is going on, but he won’t find out how bad it is for several more months when his entire livelihood, his practice, his home, and even his medical license are at risk.

The worst of it is that the government seems to have pre-stacked the deck against him before he even saw any of this coming on. And just as sad, everyone around him, from the agents to the defense lawyers, act like its just the way things are, no reason to get excited or offended. Like its normal for people to make up evidence against you, or to go to your patients and lie to them about the IUD’s you implanted in them so that they will file complaints, lawsuits and stop using you as a doctor in droves. He was shocked at what the government was doing to him, and you likely will be too. You should check it out. I’m glad I did. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Paul Singh, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: Science Literacy Books – 327 page
Published: Feb 2nd, 2019

RATING: 4/5 Stars

The Author- Paul Singh is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and the founder and president of Singh Global initiatives, a philanthropic organization that promotes health and science education worldwide. His lifelong passion is bringing scientific literacy to the public for the benefit of humanity and alleviating suffering caused by poverty, disease, and incurable illnesses. He is the author of Discovering Our World and The Great Illusion. He lives in Menlo Park, California. Paul Singh is an American biochemist, research-scientist, surgeon physician, and a urogynecologist. He is the author of critically acclaimed investigational works, Discovering Our World, The Great Illusion, The Seduction of Religion, Guilty at Gunpoint, The Death of the Rule of Law, and Prison Papers Paul Singh is a biochemist, mathematician, surgeon-physician and a Urogynecologist. He is the author of critically acclaimed books: Discovering Our World: Humanity’s Epic Journey from Myth to Knowledge and The Great Illusion: The Myth of Free Will, Consciousness and the Self. He is the founder and president of Singh Global Initiatives, a philanthropic public charity that promotes health and science education worldwide. SGI is also engaged in fostering social and economic justice by informing the public about government and corporate corruption and ways to combat it.

Say Nothing

Say Nothing: A True Story of Murder and Memory in Northern Ireland

I’ve always been under-informed about the situation in Ireland and reading Say Nothing was a great way to cure that problem. It gives great history on the long-standing feud between the Protestants and Catholics in Ireland, and the problem with England getting involved in Ireland’s affairs for hundreds of years. It shares the story of the widowed 38-year-old mum of 10, Jean McConville, who is taken from her apartment one December night in 1972 by a threatening masked group, (IRA, but unsaid) and doesn’t come home. The kids try to carry on in her absence, with the oldest daughter in charge and the oldest boy working, but they are failing, hungry. The authorities eventually have to step in and put the younger ones into care, splitting some of them up.

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The book also delves into the lives of several volunteer members of the IRA who have followed orders and done their jobs to an extreme. Some from a very young age, and almost to their deaths of starvation in prison on hunger strikes. There are the Price sisters, Dolours and Marian, and the man they call The Dark, Brendan Hughes. Bobby Sands, Gerry Adams, The IRA had split into 2 divisions, the Originals…more political, and the Provisionals who typically didn’t vote.  My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Patrick Radden Keefe, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: Doubleday Books – 464 pages
Publication: Feb 26th, 2019

RATING: 4/5 Stars

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Wild Bill

Wild Bill: The True Story of the American Frontier’s First Gunfighter

I enjoyed this book on Wild Bill Hickok very much as an updated biography. Tom Clavin does a great job of sorting between hype and facts to get to what is more likely in the real story of James Butler Hickok and his exploits. Apparently, there had been a sibling named Bill that hadn’t survived, and James and his brother Lorenzo both were fond of calling themselves ‘Bill’ at times. When James went out on his own away from the family, the name stuck, along with various descriptors like Wild Bill or Shanghai Bill.

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The book does a good job of telling about his short but exciting and event-filled life as a farmer, gunslinger, and lawman. After serving in the Civil War, Hickok made his way to Springfield, Missouri and was enjoying a spell of gambling. He’d met and become friends for a time with Davis Tutt another gambler, but the friendship soured. .Hickok was in a duel where he shot and killed Tutt in July 1865, displaying his lightning-fast quick-draw set his reputation. Unfortunately, it also made him a target for every wannabe gunslinger in the West who thought he was faster and wanted to prove it My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Tom Clavin, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: St Martin’s Press – 336 pages
Publication: Feb 5th, 2019

RATED: 4/5 Stars

The AuthorTOM CLAVIN is a #1 New York Times bestselling author and has worked as a newspaper and web site editor, magazine writer, TV and radio commentator, and a reporter for The New York Times. He has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists, Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, and National Newspaper Association. His books include The Heart of Everything That Is, Halsey’s Typhoon, and Reckless. He lives in Sag Harbor, NY.

Drug Warrior

Drug Warrior: Inside the Hunt for El Chapo and the Rise of America’s Opioid Crisis

DEA agent Riley has been busting drug dealers since he started working his way up in the ranks to the number two position. His targets have grown along with his talent and ambition. For a long time now, he has been after the worst of the dealers flooding our country with all kinds of drugs, El Chapo. He became the #1 after Pablo Escobar was taken down. This was a good paced read following his different assignments as he moved through the DEA, always with one goal in mind, to get El Chapo. A great read for anyone interested in true crime or law enforcement.

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A very good history on the huge influx of drugs coming into the US, simply shocking the numbers! I knew it was bad, but this was just stunning. Marijuana by the train car load. Tons of it. And that’s the just the mild stuff. It’s mind-boggling. The heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and fentanyl are another story. Riley had an amazing 32-year career with the DEA and his book is quite a read. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Jack Riley, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: Hachette Books – 272 pages
Publication: Feb 19th, 2019

RATING: 5/5 Stars

The Authors– John “Jack” Riley spent his DEA career combating Mexican and Colombian cartels and drug-related gang violence. At the time of his retirement, Riley was the highest ranking career Special Agent at the DEA, serving as the organization’s second in command, overseeing global drug enforcement efforts. 

Mitch Weiss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist currently working for the Associated Press. Over the last 25 years, he has investigated government corruption, white-collar crime, police misconduct, and clerical sexual abuse. His books include Tiger Force and The Heart of Hell: The Untold Story of Courage and Sacrifice in the Shadow of Iwo Jima.

Blamed and Broken

Blamed and Broken: The Mounties and the Death of Robert Dziekanski

This is a well-researched book that takes a look into a situation a while back in Canada where, after a series of mishaps a man got lost in an airport while trying to immigrate into Canada, it went on an excessively long time and no one understood his language and he had a meltdown. The Mounties were called to the scene when the man lost control, and during the confrontation, sadly, he suddenly died in police custody. A witness happened to catch one angle of the incident on video. It happened at the glass-walled Immigration section at an airport after he’d gotten lost and agitated. He only spoke Polish and no one could understand him. A Taser was involved. All four RCMP’s involved, three of whom were still fairly new in their careers, felt they’d done their job to the best of their ability and training that night, and that the witnesses and video would verify the necessity of their actions that night.

But once the man’s mother found out the next day that her only son was deceased, and had made the trip, after all, she was out of her mind with grief, screaming. She’d depleted her small savings so that they could spend what time she had left together, getting him set up in a new life in Canada. Hopefully a happy one. Her husband was very ill in a nursing home and she’d been so looking forward to her son coming, he was all she had and now she had nothing! And a funeral to find the money to pay for too. It was too much. When the video went out without context, things went very badly against the officers. From the angle of the video, you couldn’t see what the officers saw. This will affect lives for years and there will be more lives lost over it before it’s done, which is the saddest part.

It didn’t help that a couple of workers at the airport didn’t try to locate him when his mother showed up after a 4 hour trip to pick him up, they just brushed her off and told her he wasn’t there, that his flight had landed hours ago and he must not have made the trip, instead of actually making an effort to find out, and worse, they told her to just go home and call Poland. She was not allowed beyond the security checkpoint to search for him herself of course. I believe from what they figured out later, mother and son only missed each other by a few minutes in reality. It was that close.

This book is pretty intense, heartbreaking, and well written. I feel like these cops got a crappy deal. I’m sure there will be differing opinions upon reading the book and I look forward to seeing what they are. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I’ll leave it there. A very good read. My second book dealing with Mounties too recently, I like that. My thanks for the advance electronic copy that was provided by NetGalley, author Curt Petrovich, and the publisher for my fair review.

Publisher: Dundurn 336 – pages
Publication:  Feb 5th, 2019

RATED: 4/5 Stars

The Author— Curt Petrovich is an investigative journalist with over three decades of experience reporting on national and international stories for the CBC. He has followed the case of Robert Dziekanski since he was declared dead on October 14, 2007. Curt lives in Vancouver.