"A gritty, raw, and engrossing voice."—Publishers Weekly
A memoir unlike any other that explores addiction, crime, and redemption.
The true story of one correctional officer's life behind bars—the ones at work and the ones she built herself.
I was a bad mother,
a bad daughter,
a bad wife, a bad friend.
Boozed out and tired,
with no dreams
and no future.
But I was a good officer.
Sara Lunsford helped cage the worst of the worst, from serial killers to sex criminals—the kinds of people who go down in true crime history. At the end of every day, when she walked out the prison gate, she had to try to shed the horrors she witnessed. But the darkness invaded every part of her life, no matter how much she tried to drown herself in a liquor bottle. She couldn't hide from the things that hurt her, the things that made her bleed, the things that still rise up in the dark and choke her.
With a magnetic, raw voice that you won't soon forget, Sweet Hell on Fire grabs you by the throat and doesn't let go. Perfect for nonfiction readers of Tiffany Jenkins' High Achiever and Piper Kerman's Orange is the New Black, it's a hardscrabble climb from rock bottom to the new ground of a woman who understands the meaning of sacrifice, the joy of redemption, and the quiet haven to be found in hope.
With a gritty, raw, and engrossing voice, debut author Lunsford splays out the facts of her dramatic life as a corrections officer at an all-male maximum security state prison. She's separated from her husband and living in her parents' house with her two girls when she accepts a job at a corrections facility that makes the TV show Lockup look tame. A self-proclaimed bad mother, daughter, and wife, Lunsford lives for a brutal job where she teaches the inmates not to mess with her. Disappointed in herself, she drinks herself into oblivion at night and then doggedly heads back to the prison. Full of expletives, slang, humor, and horror, she recounts her daily mishaps and near misses with sex offenders, serial killers and cold-blooded killers. This collection of transfixing essays turns into a tragic story when the author hits a violent breaking point that forces her to change the course of her life. Not for the easily offended or fainthearted, Lunsford's daring book will thrill and titillate willing readers.