Allen "Skip" Roth,
Chainsaw's Justice
(de Sitter, 2005)

This is not an easy book to read -- and not because of the writing or language, but because of the subject matter. It is not a book to enjoy, but rather to be educated by.

Perhaps there have always been pedophiles stalking the land, but in recent years we have become more aware of them and their nasty behaviour. Sadly for artist Allen "Skip" Roth, this awful spectre of society entered his life in a very personal way when his young son was molested.

Any parent or "right thinking" person can imagine the hurt, the pain, the anger and the helpless feelings this will engender. But according to this book, matters did not end with a charge, a conviction and an attempt to pick up the pieces of a child's broken life. In these pages, we get an unbelievable tale of the victims becoming more victimized. We read with incredulity as the family recounts being terrorized by the pedophile to the extent that the author killed the attacker.

But that is only the beginning of the tale.

Roth was charged, convicted and sentenced for second-degree murder. The book recounts his time in prison and the various sections of the establishment he came up against. The book brings to life the inmates of a maximum-security prison as real people with faults, failings and feelings. The artwork reproduced makes them more real to us than the usual few paragraphs in the crime and sentencing report in a newspaper.

It reads like a thriller and an expose combined.

Roth has an easy style in his descriptions of life and the people he encountered. His story is one to send shivers through a caring society, but despite being a horrendous tale, it needed to be told and deserves to be read.

Further information is online with streaming video and artwork.

by Nicky Rossiter
11 February 2006

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