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Breakfast with the Devil : The Story of a Professional Jail Breaker

Insomniac Press
2001/01/01

Breakfast with the Devil : The Story of a Professional Jail Breaker Overview

The unbelievably true story of the most-escaped prisoner in North America, Wayne Carlson; with cameos by famous North American criminals.


Breakfast with the Devil : The Story of a Professional Jail Breaker Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

The 1960s and '70s were a kaleidoscope of drugs and convicts for Alberta-based writer Carlson. An angry young recidivist first imprisoned at 18 in 1960 for auto theft, he displayed a talent for improvising simple jailbreaks (once he used a carved wooden "gun"), as well as more elaborate ones involving fellow prisoners. He escaped from custody 13 times in Canada and the U.S., making him arguably the "most-escaped prisoner" in North America. His laconic narrative doesn't address the evidently close relationship between 1970s counterculture and the criminal underground (although free-spirited women friends frequently abetted his activities). After several escapes and protracted manhunts in Vermont, irritated officials transferred him to the "super max" federal prison in Marion, Ill. Life in this fierce institution was alternately violent and mundane, and rife with racial mistrust. Prisoners escaped even from Marion: Carlson sat out one dramatic escape in which a convict electrician rewired the gate controls a year before the actual jailbreak. In 1976, Carlson was returned to the Canadian authorities, and he and accomplices repeatedly escaped from yet more prisons, but were inevitably caught and received more time. Carlson was paroled in 1998; although he details his eventual decision to rehabilitate himself via his writing and his work with the Prison Samaritans Program, an outreach organization for at-risk convicts, much of this deadpan telling displays the selective vagueness sometimes found in career criminal narratives. Still, this unusual, rueful memoir gives a rare portrait of a beleaguered Canadian corrections system, and its engaging catalogue of illicit escape techniques might winreaders on both sides of the razor wire. (Oct.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.


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