Wednesday, September 30, 2009

True Crime: Prisoners of Fear

Prisoners of Fear (Gera-Lind Kolarik, Avon True Crime, 1995)
Is anyone surprised that the story ends the way it did? Not that Connie Krauser Chaney deserved what happened to her – she didn't – but it really does seem like she walked into her own personal hell with open eyes and arms wide, deciding much too late that she made a mistake. Of course, the fact is that most people caught in an abusive relationship are unable to separate themselves from it, being, on a different level, as equally unbalanced as the abuser. Still, if you have already left a man with an uncontrollable temper who beat you more than once and then both let yourself get knocked up by him and then marry him, you are more or less digging your own grave. Of course, not all wife beaters go quiet that batty and develop such an Arnold Schwarzenegger complex that they go out and pull a Terminator job. Kolarik tries to present the story as even handedly as possible, attempting to show the events through the eyes of the two main protagonists, Connie and her husband and eventual killer Wayne Chaney. Nonetheless, Wayne seems less to be a man who suddenly lost it than a nutcase asshole from the very beginning, a psycho waiting to explode. That the Chaney family continually denies Wayne's faults and places all the blame on Connie is possibly a slight clue to his mental make-up and his inability to take responsibility for his own actions. As for Connie, once her eyes finally opened and she tried to change her situation, it was too late. Trapped in a web of Wayne's anger and hate and perverse love, her new life was a living hell of numbered days leading to a violent end that she saw coming. The law was of little help, and by the time it might have begun to be a bit helpful, she had become so disillusioned with it that she no longer bothered to give it proper attention, failing even to inform her last lawyer of everything Wayne had done in the past and the numerous legal maneuvers she had tried against him, the very information the lawyer needed to keep the unhinged ball of rage in jail where he belonged. Boom! Boom! Boom! A gun round of hollow tipped bullets later and she's dead, Wayne a wanted man. He eventually dies in a hail of bullets, but then, it seems that is what he wanted, possibly having some sort of secret martyr complex. One feels sorry for Connie, but Wayne seems is an obvious mistake from the beginning.

2 comments:

DP resident said...

I grew up with Connie and Wayne. Sad to say I believe she thought she could change him. His families reaction to him being shot was disturbing to say the least. His mom had the nerve to say that the cops went too far. Too far???/ He walked into her work and being the pansy he is shot her in the back, now that is what I call too far. He deserved what he got.

darby532 said...

Thanks for this review. We, Garrett County Press, just brought Prisoners of Fear back out as an ebook.

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