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Red Midnight by Thomas Hal Phillips
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Red Midnight

by Thomas Hal Phillips

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In the years after WWII Marcus is growing up in Mississippi with his father until the age of eight when he goes to France to live with his mother and grandfather. At the age of fourteen following his mother's death he returns to his father, but shortly after his return his father is killed. The day after his father is buried the grave is desecrated, and Marcus acts to protect his fathers memory killing the father of his best friend Obie. Marcus is tried and convicted for the killing and sentenced to a term in the state penitentiary.

Marcus' crime does not indicate a violent lad, for he is sensitive and well educated, but it does reveal that he is principled, and his (understandable) refusal to apologise for his crime, that he is stubborn. A term of incarceration could destroy such a tender boy, but an understanding deputy prison warden puts Marcus in the care of another inmate, Mims. The man and boy instantly recognise an affinity; Mims keeps Marcus safe, and Marcus grows in his love and respect for Mims, who maybe old enough to be his father. Their closeness is such that upon his release Marcus feel bereft, and contemplates engineering his return to confinement. But matters are taken out of his hands, and it seems Mims might be lost to him.

After a short prologue describing Marcus' journey home after release from prison, the story follow Marcus in the years leading up to his crime, through his prison term and then for a few years after his return home and his adjustment and re-establishment of friendships.

Marcus comes across as an appealing young man, his privileged position does not spoil him (with a formidable inheritance he has no financial worries, he returns to a home, land and servants). Other characters are well defined,and the well written story maintains an edge of uncertainty that holds ones attention, nothing is assured until it happens. ( )
  presto | Nov 17, 2014 |
Quick enjoyable story of a young boy's friendship with a fellow prisoner. ( )
  basbleu39 | Mar 7, 2008 |
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"Young Marcus Oday is newly paroled from prison. In some ways, he would like nothing better than to go back. In a fit of rage over an insult to his father's grave, Marcus killed his friend Obie's father, was convicted of manslaughter, and sentenced to a term in the state penitentiary." -- Jacket.… (more)

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