Then suddenly this week I learned that my Number 2 son, Alexander Reynolds of Atlanta, Georgia, had published a book. Like most parents I have difficulty seeing a child as all grown up. We tend to remember them at age five. He wanted to be a private detective and film director then (Not a bad idea for a ‘tec in a novel.)
Anyway, luxuriating in Alice, the Mad Hatter, Ratty, Mole and Mr Toad, my attention was drawn to Convict Land, an ebook price $6.99. As I have an ebook, Murder in a Cold Climate, out now for only .99 cents I thought for six bucks more Convict Land must be what we old-timers in the paper trade used to call a “lid-lifter”. And it sure was.
But what has happened to my little boy?
Convict Land is a non-fiction account of the years he has spent getting himself put in jails free of charge. In the past he became a Buddhist monk in Thailand for a magazine article. But in Convict Land – a Kindle book, get in now and you’ll try to stay out of jail – he travelled all around America going undercover as a convict. I must say, how many dads can brag that their boy worked on a chain gang?
He has worked on this book for ten years, which shows how exhaustively researched it is – far more so than George Orwell’s Down and Out in London and Paris, which is the same genre.
Come to think of it, I once suggested that Alex join the French Foreign Legion to see how much it still resembled Beau Geste. He joined the Sloane Square Parachute Club instead.
One can see that the kid is a man of action. Little wonder with Mr Toad as a father.
In what I still know as Siam he was a professional kick-boxer; he lasted 89 seconds in the ring with the world heavyweight champion.
When I was a young newspaper reporter at the summer training camp of a contender for the world heavyweight boxing title, I was asked if I wanted to get into the ring with the contestant, who had K.0.ed all his sparring partners. The man from the New York Times said it would make me. I declined.