As an actor, Danny Belson has played many criminal types, but as the prisoner transport bus pulls out of the LA county jail, the realization of his conviction overwhelms him. The irony is that only six months ago he taught an acting workshop at the same institution he is now going to be incarcerated in. Danny had been chosen to take part in California's answer to New Jersey's highly acclaimed “Scared Straight” by actually working with the inmates of the Medium Security Federal Prison in Lompoc. In his short stay, Danny made some interesting friends as well as unforgiving enemies.
Utilizing a groundbreaking format, Follow Danny as he goes from a care free beach volleyball loving, pool shooting, actor, who's only worry is knowing when his next audition will come, to a convicted murderer. Written using flashbacks, with no chapters, learn what a struggling actor goes through, and how, after his incarceration, Danny's life is turned INSIDE OUT.
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Grim, Dark, and Brilliant!
Danny Belson is your typical actor wannabe in Hollywood who scrubs toilets, mails head shots, goes to auditions, and attends acting workshops while hoping to get a break. Things start looking up for Danny when he becomes friends with Vince, an East Coast transplant who receives lots of invites to Hollywood parties. When Vince allows Danny to tag along, Danny makes a big impression on a studio head and finds himself in the running for a prime part in a major film production.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
When production of the film falls through, Danny is back at square one; except now he has an agent and connections who can help him find gigs. While waiting for another break, Danny finds himself recruited by his acting workshop's leader, Ellie, to assist her with the acting workshop that she runs at the Lompoc medium-security prison.
During the two-week workshop, Danny gives the inmates a glimpse into the real world of acting; in return, several of the inmates give Danny lessons on prison lingo and survival. Danny and several of the inmates develop friendships, but not everyone wants to play nice; when Danny critiques an inmate's acting during an exercise, he makes an enemy that comes back to haunt him.
A few months after the workshop, Danny finally catches a break when he gets a star-making role and meets the girl of his dreams. After securing her promise to go out that night, he accidentally hits a woman with his car and kills her. Unfortunately for Danny, the victim's secret lover is the wife of a city councilman and is involved in credit card fraud; which she sets Danny up for. Danny is found guilty of negligent homicide and credit card fraud, and is sent to Lompoc prison.
Prison life is hard for Danny; despite his friends' best efforts, he is beaten and brutalized. During his time at the prison, Danny is transformed from a carefree, naive aspiring actor into a cold and calculating man as he plots revenge against the inmates that brutalized him and figures out a way to clear himself of the charges. Will Danny get his revenge? Can Danny get the information he needs to clear himself of the charges?
The tone and language of Inside Out by Jack Kearney reminds me of Shawshank Redemption; gritty, dark, bleak, but with some glimmers of hope from the friendships that are forged in the story. I liked that the story is realistic; who hasn't caught a big break in their lives, and had it ripped away from them in one form or another? Finally, I liked how the story ended; not everyone's lives changed for the better, and Danny's friends brutally revealed some harsh realities.
If you enjoyed Shawshank Redemption, grab a copy of this book; you won't be disappointed!