Posts tagged ‘murder’

Book Review: Stolen Boy By Michael Mehas

Stolen Boy is billed as a work of fiction, however it actually explores a real event, and that event is still unfolding in the Southern California court system. Jessie James Hollywood faces the potential of the trip to lethal injection for his actions. So real is Michael Mehas’ book that he actually was subpoenaed twice as a witness in the trial, and forced to hand over his notes and tapes of interviews he had conducted.

With a background of Los Angeles, Stolen boy is about drugs, booze, fast cars, and young people. With that combination you will immediately think gangs. But gangs are not involved, the individuals are mostly from regular middle class, though, highly dysfunctional families.

Mickey Youngblood and Rick LeBlanc are young people that have set out on money making careers in the drug business, both have carved out lucrative existences, but a deal between them that went wrong has soured their relationship. So much so, that a $2000 outstanding debt, creates a verbal war, that in turn becomes a physical war of property damage, and threats towards families.

Mickey is to say the least a hot head, and when the windows of his house are smashed out in a late night raid, all rules of right and wrong exit through the empty frames. Revenge is a strong emotion and Mickey is hell bent on satisfying his hunger for it.

His first idea is to find Rick LeBlanc and have it out with him. $2000 after all is chump change in the drug world. In a sheer coincidence it is not Rick they see walking down the street, but his 15 year old younger brother Bobby. Once again though, Mickey lets his rage rule his brain, and persuades the kids with him to firstly beat the kid up “as a warning,” however second thoughts enter the sick and twisted mind, and instead they kidnap Bobby.

It is not the classic kidnap tale, in fact it is anything but classic. Bobby for the most part is free to leave at any time, but he prefers to ‘party’ with his captors, drugs and booze abound! Even stranger there is no attempt made to conceal the fact that Bobby is a hostage. In what has to have been the worst kept secret in the sieve that is the LA underbelly, the whole scheme starts to unravel as more and more people become involved.

Once again the demon Mickey makes poor choices, faced with the potential of exposure by Bobby he must now make a very hard decision. Does he believe Bobby when he says that there is no harm done, and that he will not talk to anyone about the kidnapping? Or is a different course of action needed?

This is a very powerful book, and one that deserves a spot on the coveted shelf space of your local bookstore. It has also cost author Michael Mehas a great deal to write this book, being so close to the factual case he finds himself in a ‘no win’ situation. The real Mickey faces the possibility of the death penalty. What Michael knows could spare him, or could seal his fate. In many ways, Michael has become Mickey, he holds the key to life or death. This is not a situation I would want to be in.

This is not your typical novel, even though the main characters are mere teenagers, they cover the entire gamut of today’s society, the good, the bad, and the very, very ugly!

Stolen Boy is available through Amazon, and Michael Mehas also has a very informative web site where you can learn more about this story that merges fact with fiction.

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Criminal Stars

Thievery is alive and well in Hollywood. The glamorization of crime invariably tickles the curiosity of the public. Criminals have been portrayed as exciting, daring and cunning tantamount to hero status. They are the risk takers who should not be completely judged upon their criminal expression but rather looked at as individuals with some merit. They are cast sympathetically as their relationships are examined and ultimately lend credence to the justification, in their minds, of the criminal choices they have made. But worst of all, they are often shown as being ‘cool’, even as they hurdle towards the death of their freedom.

Take, for example, the jewelry or art thief. Movies like the Italian Job, the Score and Ocean’s Eleven display criminals as generally model citizens, other than when they are committing crimes. There may be such criminals but are they so suave in their real lives? Are they seemingly morally upright in their relationships with others? Are they really just good guys who happen to commit crimes? In real life the majority of criminals are not suave, cool or sympathetic figures. They are cutthroat, ruthless and to a degree, sociopathic. Mob figures are the best example of the paradox between the glamorization of criminal life and reality of criminal behavior.

All agree that the Soprano’s, a show about mob life in New Jersey, is a great show. The production value is high, the actors are skilled and the plot lines are well conceived. People get whacked, money gets laundered and criminals get promoted for good work. Yet, in order for the audience to tune in every week they must connect with the characters. Hence, the boss of the family, Tony Soprano is shown as a father, a husband and as attempting to improve his relationships with the outside world by visiting a therapist. This is a ploy to create sympathy for a ruthless murdering crime boss. And it works, as the Sopranos is a hit. What then are the real criminals doing?

True mob figures don’t give a damn about the outside world. Their loyalty lies with their crime families. They lie, cheat and murder for riches and would stomp on the average person, literally, to further their gains. A true jewelry thief is usually a two bit criminal who robs the local family owned jewelry store, as can be verified by FBI criminal statistics. Real criminal life is fraught with betrayal, pain and stints in prison. Most criminals are caught at some point with over 13 million arrests made in the US in 2005 alone, according to the FBI.

The business side of Hollywood is reactionary in nature. The glamorization of criminal life is partly in response to a demand by the public. Interest in stylized underworld figures comes from a public perhaps bored with their average daily existence. The idea that there are people who survive in a world where they ignore the law, fascinates us. But when the glamour is shaken off, and the dust clears, there is only an empty fancy suit left, where a thief once stood.