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Posted September 28, 2013
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Posted October 30, 2013
I just finished this book. It's a dark, sad, and scary tale of crazies running around the eastern mountains of TN and KY for the most part but crimes were committed in GA and a murder in FL as well. My emotions pretty much ran the gamut throughout the entire book.
It's a powerful story of simple folk whose lives were turned upside down when death came to them in the middle of the night in the form of fake law enforcement officials. I just wanted to punch Lester Burns for all his antics in such a folksy region. While Benny and Sherry were certainly up to no good, their lives completely went awry when 3 outsiders entered their lives. Had Benny just stuck to what he was doing and listened to Sherry when she told him these 3 were going to get them in a lot of trouble, maybe he wouldn't be where he's at.
The corrupt, backwoods, southern sheriffs in this book surprised me none as I lived amongst those types for almost 20 years. The book is an excellent read and a good source of info on the people of that region but you will want to leave the lights on when it's beddie bye time.
Posted April 7, 2012
Frightening analysis of human nature - greed, sex, drugs, and finally murder. In the middle of it all is Sherry - one of the murderer's lover. Sherry Lorraine refuses to leave Benny Hodges despite his habitual lack of monogamy (with teenage girls), regular domestic violence, and unending criminality which included murder of an elderly couple and a young woman. Sherry and Benny are a couple made for the Jerry Springer show, or death row. Benny resides on the latter.
While Sherry's conduct is criminal and probably pathological, O'Brien makes her likeable and sympathetic. Most authors would have written her off as "codependent," or a sex addict. O'Brien, however, depicts Sherry's reasons for supporting what most readers would consider a sociopath. According to Sherry, she loved Benny.
Sherry's love for Benny is not one I would ever understand. I was deeply disturbed by her lack of compassion, even interest, in the murder victims. After finishing the book, though, I understand how Sherry envisioned her life and love.
If the mark of excellence is an author's ability to explain the inexplicable, then O'Brien's work qualifies as brilliant.
Depressing, disturbing, and cautionary.
Posted May 13, 2010
I knew the people that committed these hienous crimes. The only part I read that was fact was the names of the victims, and the criminals, and the crime that took place. This hillbilly love affair was nothing but a female guard that fell for Benny before he was released and followed him out. I was in Brushy also at the time. I also stayed with them after my release from time to time in Oak Ridge,Tn. We did some major inside insurance jobs , but not like you described. As for his thinking up the scores, I don't recall a single idea other than in the planning of some jobs. The dealer robbing must have happened after I was long gone. That was pretty much a death sentence in the group I was affiliated with. Most, if not all were involved in this enterprise and there was a standing hit order on any drug robberies. That was suicide. We hit some gun collectors and some nightclubs. All burlaries. I left the so-called gang in 81. Gang meant whom was around when a job came to light. Everything we did was on the prowl. Nothing romantic about stealing and hiding from the cops. I think the drugs came later on if they came at all. We didn't use. That was what kept us from making mistakes and getting snitched out. We drank and smoked weed, but no hard stuff in the few months I helped do a few jobs. Some were insurance jobs. The part about the sheriff hiring him to wash cars is BS. He was a trusty and that was his job like mine. The sheriff used to have us do lots of illegal things for him. We took the confiscated bootleggers their merchandise back and found buyers for all the drugs that were to be disposed of. Benny is a pyscopath as is the other fellow I never met. But Benny was just a crazy pysco that was headed to hell. I wasn't about to be around when he thought up the perfect crime he was always talking about. The only thing was, no one left standing. I figured that meant partners also when their usefulness was up. I'm glad I woke up one day and decided the life I was living was a path to hell. I haven't been arrested since I left Tn in 1981 for TX and live a wonderful life with my wife and 2 daughters. Book publishers need to watch what they write. Just because someone says it's so doesn't make it that way. These simple minded folks you wrote about would tell you anything you wanted to hear if they thought they were going to be somebody. Don't you see they described to you what they could never be. But don't romanticize a group of morons like Carol,Sherry,Benny and that other cat. I went to school with Carol Keenie. Her father was Town Councilman or some sort of Public Servant. Sherry was just short white trash that fell for Bennie's charm. He was physically intimidating. But nothing is pursued with such vigor and consistancy thana human being headed for hell. That summed up Benny. Wasn't going to work and wasn't going back to prison alive. He didn't have the pills to eat a bullet. So much for his credibility
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