Young Jesse James Colson arrives in Isthmus City, Wisconsin, with some change, a novel, and a stolen .38. By morning, he has shot a transvestite to death and hidden the body. Slowly, he begins to build a life in the town, eventually joining the police force. But when the skeleton of the man he murdered surfaces, things spin out of control.
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The Chimney Sweeper based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
A compelling story of character growth and coming of age. The main character, Jesse, is ego centered and almost sociopathic when we first meet him as he tries to meet his basic needs with no regard for who is hurt, or has to be killed, in order for him to have what he needs/wants. Ultimately he gives himself up to another for their pleasure in order to gain his basic necessities. Somehow, by inches at a time, he changes. He finds personal values, the ability to love and be love, trust and be trusted, and basically his sense of humanity. He even becomes a cop and a positive contributor to society at large. However, as his murderous past is about to be revisited we find his growth and development might not be complete. His respect for others seems to just be superficial and his inner turmoil is at odds with his new career and values. We begin to discover how Jesse became so conflicted, what horrors in his childhood led him to run away and gave him such a childlike need for others to provide for him with little to no regard for their own needs. Basically Jesse is someone we aren't supposed to like. We aren't supposed to sympathize with his carnal nature. He can't be "the hero" of this story because he committed murder(s). Somehow though John Peyton Cooke makes you see Jesse empathetically and we begin to see that though the murders are truly unjustified, maybe he has grown and rehabilitated himself through acts of self-sacrifice and committing himself to a life, his calling, of being a good cop and doing good works. If you think what would have happened if he had been arrested right after the last murder and connected to all the others - no one would have cared about how he became so contemptuous of others - they just would have seen the acts and wanted justice. But John Peyton Cooke is able to make that quick justice seem the real crime because here we see a person can continue to grow and develop even after committing heinous deeds. In Jesse's case he could be said to just have been "acting out" and once the rage and self-hatred were ruptured he was able to move on and begin healing. But what about the people he killed? Where are their rights? Where is their ability to grow and develop? Is Jesse's evolution enough to justify what happened, what he did? This is not an easy story to digest and isn't going to leave you satisfied with things at the conclusion. But the questions you are left with are good ones. Things we should think about. I don't what John Peyton Cooke's goals were when writing this book, but if he wanted to question the death penalty and out justice system in general, he met his goal. If he wanted to make people see that there can be redemption even for those that have fallen as far as you can fall, the he met his goal. Bottom line - don't read this for escapism from life, read it to challenge yourself to value life more for what potentials are still out there for all of us as long as we live our lives.
this was the best book i have read in years about a serial killer....John Peyton Cooke grasps a disillusional, demented and ever so thrilling ride into another plane that only exists deep within all of us. Perfection!