Razor Wire Wilderness


Longtime author Stephanie Dickinson straddles the lines of true crime and memoir in “Razor Wire Wilderness,” (May 18, Kallisto Gaia Press) as she examines the lives of those affected by violence in this immaculately assembled account that takes readers directly inside incarceration and face to face with inmates.

Krystal Riordan watched as her boyfriend beat a teenage Jennifer Moore to death in a vermin-infested New Jersey hotel room. Could she have stopped it? Or could she be his next victim? Now, Krystal is serving a maximum 30-year sentence, while the man who beat Jennifer to death received only a 50-year sentence. So what does it take to survive in a maximum security lockdown for 30 years? Is it possible to thrive?

The answers only lead to more questions in Dickinson’s raw and emotional look into the criminal justice system and how it’s failed not just one but countless victims of violence. And what unfolds is a beautiful depiction of moral ambiguity, loss and redemption within the confines of the prison walls and beyond.

My Review

I don't remember hearing about this case. So I was unfamiliar with the details. Which when it comes to true crime stories, you don't really have to know about the case. That is the author's job is to help the reader understand the case.

On one hand I could "tiny" bit understand why Krystal Riordan may not have did anything to save Jennifer from her fate but this still does not excuse her from not trying to help her. No wrongs make a right. Just because Krystal had a horrible childhood that included abuse does not excuse the fact that she played a role in Jennifer's demise. 

I feel like the author was trying to get the reader to feel sympathy for Krystal because of her terrible childhood. Yet, I struggled to feel any emotion towards Krystal. It is Jennifer that I felt sorry for. She lost her life in a horrific manner that no one should have to endure. 

While, this book is short and quick read, I found it uninteresting. I can't remember most of what I did read. This story was not so neutral in the view point of victim and abusers. I appreciate the author and her effort of trying to tell this story but this book ended up not being one I would recommend. 


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