Saturday, June 9, 2018

Literature Review: Criminal Zoo by Sean McDaniel

I was there. "...100, 99, 98...." They never get to 97. The inmate's last quote is this series of numbers. Because he mumbles these numbers, the press can't hear him and will report that he was praying.  A few seconds will pass, "97" is not uttered. He's asleep, but still with us. The anesthetic was the first injection, the second one will be a bit more...permanent, shall we say. Three unknown blokes stand behind a white curtain, each handling a valve.  The order is given and the trio turn their valves. Two of them will release a deadly poison into the inmate's bloodstream, while the third will release nothing. Each of the three will have plausible deniability they participated in an execution. Within 10 minutes, the warden will announce the time of death. A very humane end to a creep who caused so much torture, humiliation, carnage, and homicide. He deserved much worse for the pain he caused, hence Sean McDaniel's Criminal Zoo.
Mr. McDaniel introduces us to Samuel Bradbury. Samuel is evil. He believes himself a deity, mutilates his victims. and possesses no guilt...yep, he's a serial killer. Everything we read is given to us through Samuel's point of view. The details of his murders takes this shocking novel into the extreme horror category, but don't confuse this work with a shock-book. The story is poignant to who we are as a culture, and more importantly, where we are going. Today's death row is akin to the Saint Regis Hotel in Singapore as compared to a futuristic punishment for these fiends. I might say futuristic, but not much into the future. In Mr. McDaniel's future, America appears to have become a bit more liberal, and the death penalty is a abolished. Unfortunately for the Samuel Bradbury monster, America has not become more compassionate.
The death penalty has been replaced. Homicidal monsters are now sent to maximum security isolation for mental torture...then to the Criminal Zoo. In this sadistic zoo, citizens can pay to have an opportunity to interact with these, now bound, killers. The interactions are usually filled with torture and mutilation...yep, the tables are reversed. Some may claim this is a perversion of the biblical maxim ..."an eye for an eye." However sordid Samuel's existence was before his arrest, after several killings (which we read about in graphic detail), we almost feel sorry for him. As our sympathy appears to bubble to the surface, we ask ourselves how we can feel sorry for this monster. Perhaps Mr. McDaniel is reminding us where an otherwise civilized society can head if blood curdling evil becomes rampant. Yep, the sympathy may not be for Samuel, but for the loss of purity and innocence that guides our nation through a Constitution and privilege.
Samuel's ghastly fate was indeed deserved. However horrific this killer's homicides were, the reaction of good people may be the most horrific part of Criminal Zoo. Though the good people who paid to interact (torture and mutilate) the fiends were justified in their actions, certainly this mode of punishment will change them forever. Law abiding society is allowed to cross a line and in a sense, more monsters have been created. As I was acquainted with death row a few years ago, it was apparent that the inmates had any free will in them drained by a monotonous daily routine. With the abolition of death row in Mr. McDaniel's work, the monsters can only fantasize about the return to that more humane punishment.  The criminal zoo in this novel touches on the figurative and metaphorical descriptions of Hell in our Bible and great literature. God may be more humane than this new brand of punishment, but we certainly are not. For some shocking and graphic horror in which the true monsters may be in our own mirror, read Sean McDaniel's Criminal Zoo. By the way...these questions I pose in this review? The deeper you learn of the criminal zoo, these queries are addressed and the answers will horrify you!
To order this book on Kindle, click this link Criminal Zoo

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