Sleepers. Lorenzo Carcaterra


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Sleepers Lorenzo Carcaterra

Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen, summer 1967: "a place of innocence ruled by corruption." John "The Count," Tommy "Butter," Michael "Spots" and the author, "Shakes, " went to parochial school, stole anything that wasn't nailed down and ran errands for the local mobster, King Benny. It was all fun and games, but that ended the day a childish prank went wrong, a man almost died and the kids became "sleepers"?inmates of the Wilkinson Home for Boys in upstate New York. The boys were brutalized by sadistic prison guards; beatings, rape and sodomy happened daily. The author and his pals survived Wilkinson, but their lives were permanently scarred by their detention. John and Tommy became mobsters. One evening in 1980, they happened upon their chief tormentor and shot him dead in a Hell's Kitchen pub. At trial they were prosecuted by their old friend, Michael, now a district attorney, who would purposely lose the trial, and in the process exorcise their childhood demons. Although the author uses fictitious names to protect identities, this is a riveting story delicious with revenge as he details how every guard that brutalized them was exposed. In a memoir that reads like a novel, Carcaterra (A Safe Place) mixes horror, laughter and pathos to show that justice, like love, is in the eye of the beholder.


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