“It was the best of times....it was the worst of crimes...”
If Charles Dickens were writing today, he might appreciate this play on his classic novel, “A Tale of Two Cities” -- one of the greatest pieces of literature ever written. It’s also a proper introduction to Street Poisoning, the powerful new graphic novel just released by Jerry Steiner. Created entirely within the walls of Southern Michigan State Prison, Street Poisoning is the story of Richard Dunbar, a child of poverty who grows up to lead a drug gang in his home town of Battle Creek, Michigan.
In this groundbreaking graphic novel, Steiner captivates his readers by taking them on a disturbing journey from the brink of disaster to the false elation of being “untouchable.” Steiner's plot is powered forward by the hand-drawn illustrations of Christian Armstead, which add an element of gut-wrenching authenticity rarely seen in today's culture.
A native of Battle Creek, Jerry Steiner has led a tough life that reflects the last 60 years of American history. Growing up a black man of the 50's and 60's and witnessing the Civil Rights Movement firsthand, Steiner has been a military veteran and a prisoner of the law. With his vast experiences on both sides of the bars, Steiner commands the reader’s attention from the first page to the last.
While Jerry Steiner may be a late-bloomer into the game of writing at age 63, his work is an instant classic, and while it is dubbed as a piece of fiction, there is not a more realistic piece of literature on the bookstore shelves this year. (Warning: Street Poisoning is not appropriate for readers under 16 years old or the squeamish.)
What makes the Steiner book so different from that of his contemporaries is that he exposes the vicious circle of life in the modern inner-city: poverty, violence, drug dealing and children without childhoods. Tapping into these harsh realities, Steiner forces you to see the story through his eyes.
Street Poisoning is also a raw, original look rampant drug crime in a typical Midwestern city. As we follow the story of lead character Richard Dunbar, Steiner propels us from the harsh crucible of inner-city childhood to Dunbar’s emergence as a “man among men” in the drug gang culture. Along the way, your own perspective on life in the inner-city may change dramatically.
This is far from a “pretty” tale or an inspirational book, but rather a profoundly honest story rooted in actual experience. From a child’s urge to protect his mother to an adult’s outlook on murder, from cynical gang rivalry to horrific crack addiction, Jerry Steiner knows exactly what he’s talking about. Street Poisoning give us an opportunity to change the way we look at literature itself. Steiner's words are extremely unforgiving. He pulls no punches and he paints the story with no apologies to the outside world.
To learn more about Street Poisoning and the author himself, including photographs, visit the website for the book at: www.StreetPoisoning.com. Or call the publisher, Blue Sail Press, at (269) 962-1830. You’ll see why this is the best $16.95 you have ever spent.