HANDS UP by Stephen Clark has been released and is a story that seems ripped from the headlines. You NEED to check out this book

Title: HANDS UP

Author: STEPHEN CLARK

Genre: FICTION, MYSTERIES AND THRILLERS, SOCIAL THEMES

Length: 290 PAGES

Publisher: WiDō PUBLISHING

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: SEPTEMBER 28, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-947966-20-8

Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

Officer Ryan Quinn, a rookie raised in a family of cops, is on the fast track to detective until he shoots an unarmed black male. Now, with his career, reputation and freedom on the line, he embarks on a quest for redemption that forces him to confront his fears and biases and choose between conscience or silence.

Jade Wakefield is an emotionally damaged college student living in one of Philadelphia’s worst neighborhoods. She knows the chances of getting an indictment against the cop who killed her brother are slim. When she learns there’s more to the story than the official police account, Jade is determined, even desperate, to find out what really happened. She plans to get revenge by any means necessary.

Kelly Randolph, who returns to Philadelphia broke and broken after abandoning his family ten years earlier, seeks forgiveness while mourning the death of his son. But after he’s thrust into the spotlight as the face of the protest movement, his disavowed criminal past resurfaces and threatens to derail the family’s pursuit of justice.

Ryan, Jade, and Kelly–three people from different worlds—are on a collision course after the shooting, as their lives interconnect and then spiral into chaos.

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MY REVIEW:

This is a timely novel because of the very real increase in the number of police shootings of unarmed, young black men in the United States.

HANDS UP begins with Tyrell Wakefield being shot by rookie police officer Ryan Quinn. According to the police, the young man had punched Ryan’s older partner and was attempting to grab his gun.

However, Tyrell’s sister, Jade, finds that story very unlikely, as does her mother. So, Jade is determined to find out what really happened.

When Jade’s maternal Aunt turns Tyrell’s death into a #BlackLivesMatter rallying cry, the press get ahold of the story and it becomes bigger than Jade ever expected. It also brings an unexpected person back into the lives of Jade and the rest of her family and he is definitely NOT welcome.

Meanwhile, Ryan Quinn is horrified with what he has done. He never wanted to shoot anyone and he has never thought of himself as the racist monster he is being portrayed as. In fact, his police officer father was killed in the line of duty when Ryan was young, so he is accutely aware of the pain caused by losing a loved one to gun violence. Now, Ryan has a decision to make. Should he be loyal to the police and his partner? Or should he follow his heart and his conscience?

I enjoyed this book even more than I had anticipated. I had some idea of how the tale would unfold, but I was pleasantly surprised. This is not a predictable read and author Stephen Clark has created characters of depth and complexity.

In addition to the obvious issue of police shootings, several other social issues are also part of this story. In my opinion, this makes the story seem even more realistic. Police shootings do not happen in a vacuum and there are almost always several factors that contribute to the tragedy.
In DON’T SHOOT, racism by the police is not the only problem. The area in which the shooting takes place is poverty-stricken due to lack of education and employment opportunities, gang violence, a lack of social programs and much more.

On top of the above problems, this story also talks about homelessness, single parenting, divorce, abandonment, addiction, cutting, and even suicide. The author does a fabulous job of describing these issues and how each of them has affected the lives of the characters, and how a single issue can affect different individuals in different ways.

With non-stop action, current events, exquisitely complicated characters and a twisting plot, HANDS UP is a fantastic and must read, newly released novel.

This IS most definitely a book worthy of being on your “To Read” list. In fact, I will not be surprised when HANDS UP becomes an award-winning novel.

I rate this book as 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would like to thank the author for sending me a copy of this book.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Stephen Clark is a former award-winning journalist who served as a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times and as a politics editor for the Washington, D.C. bureau of FoxNews.com. As a reporter for the Utica Observer-Dispatch, he won a New York Newspaper Publishers Association Award of Distinguished Community Service for his investigation into the financial struggles of nonprofit services.

He also won a Society of Professional Journalists Award for Investigative Reporting at the Stamford Advocate for his series exposing an elderly grifter’s charity organization.

Stephen grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia and now lives in North Jersey with his wife and son.

He has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Arcadia University and a master’s degree in journalism from Syracuse University.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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RED RIVER GIRL: The Life And Death of Tina Fontaine BY Award Winning Journalist and Author JOANNA JOLLY – A 5 STAR LOOK AT ONE MISSING AND MURDERED INDIGENOUS TEEN

Title: RED RIVER GIRL
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Subtitle: The Life and Death of Tina Fontaine
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Author: JOANNA JOLLY
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Genre: NON-FICTION, TRUE CRIME, INDIGENOUS NON-FICTION

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Length: 320 PAGES

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Publisher: VIKING – A DIVISION OF PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE CANADA
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: AUGUST 27, 2019

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ISBN: 9780735233935

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Price: $16.95 USD (Paperback)

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Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

On August 17, 2014, the body of fifteen-year old runaway Tina Fontaine was found in Winnipeg’s Red River. It was wrapped in material and weighted down with rocks. Red River Girl is a gripping account of that murder investigation and the unusual police detective who pursued the killer with every legal means at his disposal. The book, like the movie Spotlight, will chronicle the behind-the-scenes stages of a lengthy and meticulously planned investigation. It reveals characters and social tensions that bring vivid life to a story that made national headlines.

Award-winning BBC reporter and documentary maker Joanna Jolly delves into the troubled life of Tina Fontaine, the half-Ojibway, half-Cree murder victim, starting with her childhood on the Sagkeeng First Nation Reserve. Tina’s journey to the capital city is a harrowing one, culminating in drug abuse, sexual exploitation, and death.

Aware of the reality of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, Jolly has chronicled Tina Fontaine’s life as a reminder that she was more than a statistic. Raised by her father, and then by her great-aunt, Tina was a good student. But the violent death of her father hit Tina hard. She ran away, was found and put into the care of Child and Family Services, which she also sought to escape from. That choice left her in danger.

Red River Girl focuses not on the grisly event itself, but on the efforts to seek justice. In December 2015, the police charged Raymond Cormier, a drifter, with second-degree murder. Jolly’s book will cover the trial, which resulted in an acquittal. The verdict caused dismay across the country.

The book is not only a true crime story, but a portrait of a community where Indigenous women are disproportionately more likely to be hurt or killed. Jolly asks questions about how Indigenous women, sex workers, community leaders, and activists are fighting back to protect themselves and change perceptions. Most importantly, the book will chronicle whether Tina’s family will find justice.

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THIS BOOK IS ON THE TORONTO STAR’S TOP TEN BESTSELLER LIST
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MY REVIEW:

As proud as I am to be Canadian, there are many things I wish I could change. There are even things that make me ashamed of my country and one of those things is how Indigenous people have historically been treated. Even more horrifying is that although it is finally improving, at least in some areas, Indigenous people still face an unconsciounable amount of racial discrimination to this very day. This racism and discrimination is not limited to Canada, and is a Continent-Wide issue.

The reason I bring up racism is because it is definitely a factor of Tina Fontaine’s disappearance and murder as chronicled in RED RIVER GIRL.

Police map of missing limbs in the Red River – Photo obtained from the BBC

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Author Joanna Jolly has researched Tina Fontaine’s life from childhood up to, and even after her death. I believe that Joanna Jolly’s experience as not only a journalist and author, but also as a documentary film maker has culminated in a book that must be read. She does not shy away from disclosing the horror that Tina experienced in her short fifteen years of life. Not does she gloss over the cultural stigma Tina lived with every day of her life.

This book not only highlights the life and death of Tina Fontaine, it also highlights the excellent investigative skills shown by the dogged police detective who pulled out all the stops to find Tina’s killer and to bring him to justice. However, that was not to be.

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When killer Raymond Cormier’s trial ended up with him being acquitted, people across Canada (myself included) were both outraged and dismayed. The only positive that came from that trial was the spotlight that was shone on the horrific epidemic of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

If you care about the truth, if you care about our Indigenous population, if you want to be more informed regarding Indigenous homelessness, as well as other related topics, you need to buy a copy of this book.

I rate RED RIVER GIRL as 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

*** Thank you to NetGalley and Penguin Random House Canada for providing me with a free copy of this book. ***

Thelma Favel – Tina’s Great Aunt

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

JOANNA JOLLY

Joanna Jolly is a multi-award winning former BBC South Asia Editor and documentary film maker. Over the past decade, she has reported from Jerusalem, Brussels, Kathmandu, Washington DC and Delhi. Red River Girl is her debut novel. In 2016, she was a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

Represented by Susanna Lea Associates on behalf of Toby Mundy Associates

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

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A HOUSE ON STILTS: Mothering in the Age of Opiod Addiction by Paula Becker is a memoir that will have you riding along on the roller-coaster ride of her eldest son’s Opiod Addiction. This is an absolute MUST READ for every parent – 5 HUGE STARS – AVAILABLE SEPTEMBER 15th, 2019

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Title: A HOUSE ON STILTS
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Subtitle: MOTHERING IN THE AGE OF OPIOD ADDICTION
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Author: PAULA BECKER
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Genre: NON-FICTION, BIOGRAPHIES AND MEMOIRS, HEALTH AND WELLNESS, TRUE CRIME, ADDICTION

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Length: 176 PAGES

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Publisher: UNIVERSITY OF IOWA PRESS
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Received From: NETGALLEY
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Release Date: SEPTEMBER 15, 2019

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ISBN: 9781609386597

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Price: $18.00 USD

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Rating: 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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DESCRIPTION:

A House on Stilts tells the story of one woman’s struggle to reclaim wholeness while mothering a son addicted to opioids. Paula Becker’s son Hunter was raised in a safe, nurturing home by his writer/historian mom and his physician father. He was a bright, curious child. And yet, addiction found him.

More than 2.5 million Americans are addicted to opioids, some half-million of these to heroin. For many of them, their drug addiction leads to lives of demoralization, homelessness, and constant peril. For parents, a child’s addiction upends family life, catapulting them onto a path no longer prescribed by Dr. Spock, but by Dante’s Inferno. Within this ten-year crucible, Paula is transformed by an excruciating, inescapable truth: the difference between what she can do and what she cannot do.

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MY REVIEW:

I have recently read numerous biographies and memoirs and many of them have focused on the theme of addiction. Addiction was once ‘hush-hush’ and considered to be a dirty little secret. It is now beginning to be viewed not as shameful, but as a disease that is just as deadly as cancer, and one that can (and does) strike anyone at any age.

Many people look down on addicts and their families. They blame the addict’s parents, lifestyle, socioeconomic status, race, religion or any other of a myriad of factors upon which someone can place the blame. Often, in their smugness, they think “we are nothing like that family, therefore addiction will never be part of our lives.” Oh, how wrong they may be.

Paula Becker and her husband were living a charmed life. They were happy and when they added a son, Hunter, to the equation, they felt even more blessed. Adding another son and a daughter, and they were content.

In order to give their children, what they believed to be, an idyllic upbringing, Paula and her husband decided to homeschool them. Her husband was the main income provider and Paula could work as a part-time author from home. So, although it meant that they would have to be extremely smart with their spending, they were willing to do anything it took to ensure their children’s lives would be filled with learning and love.

Does this sound like a home where an opiate addict might come from? If asked, most people would answer “No.” Therein lies the challenge of identifying a person with a predilection toward addiction.

A HOUSE ON STILTS will force readers to confront the fact that addiction can (and does) happen to anyone, regardless of economic status, race, religion, colour, disability, location or any other of the myriad of reasons people have blamed for addiction.

Paula Becker’s memoir A HOUSE ON STILTS is being released at the perfect time. I firmly believe that every parent needs to read this book, and needs to read it NOW!

Paula Becker’s memoir will tug at your heartstrings as she writes about how her family’s life changes as her eldest son first dabbles, then dives headfirst into drugs. As Hunter’s addiction spirals out of control, his parents mourn the loss not only of his mental and physical health, but also the loss of a mother’s dreams for her son.

The Beckers family was lucky in that due to their economic status and health care insurance, they had the resources to get the very best treatment money could buy. Yet despite having so many advantages in life and even in addiction treatment options, they found that no matter what the family tried, that it would not work. They couldn’t wish Hunter better because it is the addict who must want to change.

One of the things I admire most about the author is her candor. She does not sugarcoat or try to justify any actions she has taken, nor does she try to make Hunter sound any better or worse than he really was. I am also happy that she chose to include details as to how Hunter’s addiction impacted his two siblings.

Written with her heart on her sleeve, Paula Becker’s memoir is important and deserves the highest possible rating. I rate A HOUSE ON STILTS as 5+ OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

A House on Stilts: Mothering in the Age of Opioid Addiction (a memoir) will be published September 15, 2019, by University of Iowa Press.

To pre-order a signed copy of A HOUSE ON STILTS, please click HERE.

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*** Thank you to NetGalley and to the Publisher for providing me with a free copy of this book.***

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QUOTE:

“Hunter had been an erupting volcano during sophomore year. Now he was dormant. Barry and I monitored him, volcanologists. There was still smoke, there were occasional rumbles, but for a while Hunter put out relatively neutral readings.”

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Photo by David Ryder

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Paula Becker is a writer and historian living in Seattle, Washington. She is the author of the book:

Looking For Betty MacDonald: The Egg, The Plague, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and I (University of Washington Press)
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She also wrote the following books with co-author Alan J. Stein:

The Future Remembered: The 1962 Seattle World’s Fair And Its Legacy (Seattle Center Foundation, 2011)

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Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition: Washington’s First World’s Fair (History Ink/HistoryLink in association with University of Washington Press, 2009)
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More than 300 of Paula’s essays documenting all aspects of Washington’s history appear on http://www.HistoryLink.org, the online encyclopedia of Washington state history, where she is a historian.

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Read one of her essays by Clicking HERE
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Seattle Magazine has named Paula Becker as one of “The Six Seattle Authors You Shouldn’t Miss This Fall” in the September 2019 Edition.

Image Credit: Hayley Young

From left to right: Timothy Egan, Lindy West, Shin Yu Pai, Shauna Ahern, Paula Becker, Charles Johnson

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To read the full article click HERE.
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Upon the release of A House On Stilts, Paula Becker will be making various appearances around Seattle including an appearance on September 21st at 2 p.m (FREE) at Seattle Central Library, downtown, 1000 Fourth Ave., 206.386.4636;
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and on October 28th (6 p.m., free) at University Book Store, University District, 4326 University Way NE, 800.335.7323
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To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE
https://paulabecker.org/

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GOODREADS
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INSTAGRAM
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AUTHOR’S GUILD
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TWITTER – AUTHOR
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TWITTER – PUBLISHER

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THIRD PLACE BOOKS – ORDER A SIGNED COPY AND/OR VISIT THE STORE ON OCTOBER 1st TO MEET THE AUTHOR IN PERSON
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AMAZON
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CHAPTERS

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PUBLISHER’S WEBSITE
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Resources for families of people with addiction:

American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) patient resources page

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American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry (AAAP) physician search

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Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) 24-hour a day national help line for treatment referrals

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Shatterproof (a national nonprofit organization dedicated to ending the devastation addiction causes families)

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Partnership for Drug-Free Kids

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Facing Addiction family and friends portal

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Sam Harris discusses addiction with Sally Satel, M.D., a practicing psychiatrist and lecturer at the Yale University School of Medicine who examines mental health policy as well as political trends in medicine.