In the World From the Big House to Hollywood - Richard Stratton - It was written in the stars!
GENRE -True Crime
Publication Date - 4th of February 2020
1990, Manhatten, New York City. Writer/drug-dealer Richard Stratton is about to leave prison. Having been an industrious drug-dealer (think an American version of Howard Marks), Stratton is released having beaten the system, released on a technicality, and this ex-drug dealer is schooled in the art of law and order. Whilst inside Stratton has trained as a forensic specialist, oh yeah, he's also a writer his novel 'Smack Goddess' is about to be published. Richard Stratton is a great storyteller, a passionate writer, and has friends in very (excuse the pun) high places.
Upon release from prison (on parole when he shouldn't have been) he's offered a job with a law firm, a substantial amount of cahs to publish his book, and life seems good again. With the devil on one shoulder and an angel on the other- you wonder how long Richard Stratton will last outside in the real world. What follows is Stratton's story of rejoining the real world, engaging with an array of colourful characters; from mafia legends to a best friend (American writer) Norman Mailer, actors Dustin Hoffman & Sly Stallone, to writing a successful series for HBO, getting married and having kids, all whilst fighting an insatiable urge to go against the American legal system and return to type by dealing one final time. He doesn't. However, Richard Stratton is obviously a highly educated and articulate writer. Whether writing about Mafia court cases or his lust for a dental receptionist, 'In The World' manages to mix murky true crime, with an insight into the TV / Film industry 'street time' publishing 'slam' and his passionate interest in American crime (Harry Chapin, Mike Tyson). The fascinating relationship he has with a septuagenarian mobster is true serendipity.
My only criticism would be that when reading a book by such a talented writer of prose, poetry, film, documentary, and prison life, I would be interested to learn more about how Richard Stratton really writes, an insight into how he does it, the influences, where did his story begin?. More of that and less of the minutia mafia detail. That said, this is a very enjoyable book.
If you'd like to read more from this writer, check him out on goodreads.com