I guess the most important thing to say up front was that the summer of 1987 was a pivotal time in my life. I was 10. I made a new best friend. And, I became a murderer. Yep. You heard right.
The summer of 1987 was the ninth stop for yours truly on the great prison tour of my childhood. Every year a new town and a new prison to explore.
I wasn’t yet a murderer. Not at the beginning. Just the plain old son of a warden in jeans with permanent grass stains and threadbare sneakers that wore me more than I wore them.
Life as the son of a federal prison warden never felt weird until I turned 10. I was still a naive little waif until that nasty summer when everything changed.
Now I sit here in my suit, so far removed from the boy of 1987 Virginia that I feel like I’m perfectly qualified to judge him. But when the window’s open, all I have to do is get a breeze from which I can detect the gluey stink of split black locust, or hear the froggy grind of a woodcock’s call, and then I’m no longer qualified. There I am, back under the hot sun, at the edge of the creek stinking of heat and moss. I am that boy again. And I can make out the line of Redcoats marching in ramrod-straight formation along a pink-feathered sea of mountain laurel in the distance…
What happens when a 10-year-old boy becomes friends with an inmate? Jimmy Allen’s about to find out, and the crash of reality will stick with him for an eternity. The author of the USA Today best-selling Corps Justice series pens a coming of age story about youth, strength, and the bravery of bonds between friends.