Review of Ronald Chapman’s A Killer’s Grace

I’m pleased to have read and written a review of Ronald Chapman’s book A Killer’s Grace in time for his WOW!Women on Writing virtual book tour. Today, September 1, is the publication of the book’s second edition.  As you’ll read, A Killer’s Grace is a wonderful work. I hope you’ll all get your copy (see the links below). You won’t be disappointed.

A Killer's Grace Cover

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My Review of A Killer’s Grace

A letter from a serial killer awaiting execution changes New Mexico reporter Kevin Pitcairn’s life. His investigations into the content of the letter drag him into his own dark past, that of a never-convicted murderer and an alcoholic. His journey draws the readers of A Killer’s Grace by Ronald Chapman into the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous and the close relationships Pitcairn made there, his love for Maria Elena who stays by his side even when she disagrees and fears his involvement with the serial killer’s story, how walking with his dog companions in the early morning hours calms him after nightmares leave him trembling with fear, and the master spiritualists he meets along the way who help him on his long quest to make an amend.

For this reader, A Killer’s Grace is a first. I don’t normally gravitate toward thrillers and murder mysteries. However, it kept me turning the pages. Chapman’s writing is wonderfully descriptive; he portrays the landscape and the sky vividly, especially in the scenes when his copious tears flow while walking with his dogs. He doesn’t need to tell that his character, Kevin Pitcairn is in turmoil. He shows it. Chapman also is adept at characterization. I found his portrayal of the love scenes between Pitcairn and Maria Elena especially warm and sensitive, and I like how he contrasted their love scenes with a taste of their humor and sometimes hot disagreements. Maria Elena is definitely not one-dimensional. One scene when Maria Elena screams and rushes to the stage while Pitcairn is being interviewed on national television by an adversarial host shocks; however, it is proof how much she loves and stands by her man. Chapman is equally adept at portraying Pitcairn’s relationships with his AA mentors through realistic and interesting dialogue. Their conversations show how these three men all struggle for forgiveness for past dark deeds. My only reservations stem from conversations at the end with religious spiritualists. Pitcairn seems drawn in, but I’m not totally sure I buy the usefulness of those people in his life. I think Pitcairn has found what he’s looking for already, that innocence prevails, without the spiritual help.

I think if I were confronted with such a letter I might have reacted differently. Pitcairn decides to do some research into the killer, Daniel Davidson’s claim, that his mental illness, made him commit such horrendous sexual and murderous crimes, and once he was on proper medication, his urges were controlled. Davidson makes no excuses for what he did and has accepted his fate. However, he has asked Pitcairn to tell his story so the world can benefit from his experience. Pitcairn takes a huge risk, alienating his newspaper editor over his decision to write the story and driving a wedge between him and Maria Elena for a while. For me the risk would be too great. But for Pitcairn it becomes his way of assuaging the guilt he’s felt ever since he killed a man in a drunken rampage. He was able to escape being caught for that killing; however, he could not escape his guilt – until Davidson’s letter provided the vehicle to do so.

That said, I do recommend this book. It is a great, fast-paced read. It is story telling at its best.

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Book Synopsis: A Killer’s Grace will stay with you long after you finish reading the final page. From the high desert of New Mexico comes a tale of mystery, murder and redemption. When journalist Kevin Pitcairn receives a disturbing letter from a serial killer, he is drawn into a compelling journey with profound psychological and spiritual implications, not just for the murderer, but for himself and society as a whole. As he tries to investigate and then tell the story, he finds himself battling his own inner demons and sordid history. Events conspire to propel an isolated matter to a national stage and audiences that are increasingly hostile. Forced to explore the roots of human psychology and sanity, Pitcairn must navigate moral and philosophical realms. What is the nature of evil? What powers of choice do humans actually possess? How may we be redeemed? And in the end, how do we reconcile with ourselves?

Paperback: 240 Pages
Genre: fiction
Publisher: Terra Nova Books; 2nd edition (September 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1938288750

“…a work of fiction, it was inspired by a real letter from a serial killer…important and compelling… will stay with you long after the last page.”—Kam Aures, reviewer for Rebecca’s Reads

“A Killer’s Grace delves deep into the human psyche… Those who have experienced abuse or violence in their own lives will not only relate to the story, but may find their own self-discovery journey unfolding alongside Kevin’s.”—Paula Renaye, author, Living the Life You Love: The No-Nonsense Guide to Total Transformation

Ronald Chapman Head ShotAbout the Author: Ronald Chapman is owner of an international speaking and consulting company, Magnetic North LLC. In addition to international accreditation as a speaker and national awards for radio commentary, he is the author of two novels, My Name is Wonder (Terra Nova Publishing, 2016) and A Killer’s Grace (Terra Nova Publishing, 2016 and 2012), two works of non-fiction, Seeing True: Ninety Contemplations in Ninety Days (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2008) and What a Wonderful World: Seeing Through New Eyes (Page Free Publishing, 2004) and the producer of three audio sets, Seeing True: The Way of Spirit (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2016, 2005), Breathing, Releasing and Breaking Through: Practices for Seeing True (Ozark Mountain Publishing, 2015), and Seeing True – The Way of Success in Leadership (Magnetic North Audio, 2005).

Ron provides a wide array of social media content at www.SeeingTrue.com, content for people in substance abuse recovery at www.ProgressiveRecovery.org, and other content from his master site, www.RonaldChapman.com. He holds a Masters in Social Welfare from The University at Albany (New York.) Prior to his relocation to Atlanta, Georgia in 2008, he was a long-time resident of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ronald can be found online at:
YouTube Video
A Killer’s Grace Amazon
A Killer’s Grace Goodreads

Ronald Chapman’s websites:
http://www.RonaldChapman.com/ for other information from the author.
http://www.SeeingTrue.com/ for ongoing social media content including blogs, v-logs, graphical materials, etc.
http://www.ProgressiveRecovery.com/ for materials relevant to those in recovery from substance abuse.
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Comments

  1. Hi Madeline,

    I love your perspective on A Killer’s Grace, and especially appreciate how much time you obviously invested in contemplating it. I could see that especially in your awareness of the love story that runs like a golden thread that binds things together. And interestingly, you’re the second person who has had question about the religious people toward the end. That gives me pause as I contemplate the sequel. Still, I’m delighted you enjoyed the story. And that it caused contemplation. So thank you for the extra care, and for your interest. As a guy hoping to carry some messages that feel like life work, it helps a lot to have the support of others.

    Nothing but the best,

    Ron

    p.s. Thank you also for the breadth of your material on the book and me! It’s a lot of ground you covered.

    • Madeline Sharples says:

      Hi, Ron,

      You’re most welcome. Book reviewing is not my strong suit, so I’m glad it worked out.

      Wishing you huge success with all your books.

      Madeline

  2. Crystal Otto says:

    Madeline,
    You underestimate yourself. You do a lovely job reviewing books. Thank you for participating in this tour. I always look forward to your thoughts.
    ~Crystal

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