- Expected Feb 4, 2020
The Hollywood Ending of an Adrenaline-Filled and, By Turns, Harrowing and Funny Odyssey of Crime and Redemption in America's War on Drugs
Smuggler's Blues, the first book in Richard Stratton's memoir of his criminal career, detailed his years as a kingpin in the Hippie Mafia. Kingpin, the second book, traced his eight-year journey through the criminal justice system, through two federal trials and myriad jails and prisons, and culminating in his success as a self-taught jailhouse lawyer in winning his own release. In this final volume, Stratton recounts his return to civilian life, as a convicted felon who had been forced to confront his demons and an aspiring writer who yearned to make his mark.
From parole to Hollywood to marriage and fatherhood, he found his way in the free world. Working in the New York office of a criminal defense attorney, he somehow adhered to the stringent conditions of his release not to associate with other felons. When his prison novel Smack Goddess was published, his mentor, Norman Mailer, entered his life again. Going to Hollywood to consult on a documentary, he became a writer and producer, and his feature film Slam won major awards at Sundance and Cannes. In the World includes profiles of celebrities such as Mailer, Oliver Stone, Sean Penn, and others.
On June 25, 1990, Stratton walked out of a federal prison in Kentucky after serving eight years on marijuana smuggling charges. In his engrossing, polished memoir, Stratton details the struggles of reinventing himself in his 40s, facing the capricious restrictions of parole, and finding love and work. But, despite his criminal past, Stratton was no typical ex-con. A journalist, he also worked as a jailhouse lawyer in prison; wrote a novel that was published, Smack Goddess; and his best friend was Pulitzer Prize winner Norman Mailer. His life, before and after prison, was peopled with the famous and infamous. After he got out of prison, he met his future wife, Kim Wozencraft, a former law enforcement agent and convict, who wrote the novel Rush. Though the marriage didn't last, they had three children together. Stratton went on to produce and write documentaries, publish several books, consult on HBO's Oz TV show about prison life, and covered the fourth and final trial of John Gotti Jr. in 2005 on racketeering charges for Playboy magazine. Stratton peppers the text with government conspiracy theories as well as his views on America's war on drugs and on prison violence. This fascinating memoir is sure to appeal to true crime fans.