Dialogues of A Crime: John K. Manos
Crimes are committed everyday and those in charge of the arrest and incarceration of the suspect or suspects involved handle each suspect accordingly. Within the criminal system not everything is handled in a legal or proper manner and sometimes the suspect is wrongly accused and at other times could be forced to enter a plea that will cause that person a lifetime in prison, a short stint inside for no reason or a result that most would never expect. Dialogues of a Crime is unique story or journey inside the mind of 19 year old Michael Pollitz from the moment you open to the first page, meet him and learn just how fast someone can be arrested, convicted and placed in a cell without anyone looking back. Drugs are definitely one of the number one problems colleges have to deal with today. Many students sell, use or run their own businesses out of their rooms, on campus or maybe even online. But, this story opens in 1972 in Michael’s dorm room where the police come crashing through, take him in, not answering his questions as to why he’s being connected but the hint of something wrong and definitely underhanded comes through.
The setting is Chicago and anyone that knows that city will attest to the fact that the Chicago Mob reigned and no one would dare to challenge them. Michael Pollitz was best friends with the son who ran what they called the mob, the Outfit and as a result became part of their operation, a pawn in their midst and a connection they would exploit. Friendships are tested from the start as Michael relates his arrest and legal problems to crime boss Dom Calabria who offers to provide the legal help he needs. But, Michael faces a more serious problem when relating this to his father. Virtue, honesty and integrity are questioned as Michael’s father gives him a ultimatum that would ultimately cost him more than just a stint in jail. Legal problems when it comes to drugs can lead to longer sentences and when Michael enlists the help of a public defender rather than fight he pleads guilty hoping for a lighter sentence, probation and hopefully no fine. But this college student would learn the inner workings of the prison within the first ten days and realize that some fights are worthy of your time and the advice given by lawyers in this case not sound. When deciding whether to respect his father’s sense of fairness and right from wrong the reader will have to decide just who is responsible for the end result and why. As Michael’s fate is described, his time in the infirmary and the causes of his injuries the reader hears his voice as he plans to take action against those not only beat him but raped him as well. Methodically, carefully and with definitely calm and coldness, Michael takes on his three assailants in a unique and powerful way sending a message to them and anyone else about their fate.
Exiting the prison and finally under the protection of the guards, the reader will learn just how close to the Outfit and its leadership Michael is and wants to become. Will he venture to work for them, will he do as he says before leaving the prison. The author will then describe the fate of the two of the men when the story moves to 1994. Listening to the voices of the police officers that are about to investigate the case twenty years later we meet CPD Detective Larry Klinger who dives in head-on in order to reopen this cold case that stemmed from a murder that happened 20 years ago. But the Detective is hungry for a case that will set his investigative juices on high alert and get him more motivated. Meeting with the prison guards that worked in Astoria Adult Correctional Facility in 1972 he forms his own opinion of the events, the murders of two inmates and the assault on Michael. Tracking him down with the help of the guards and meeting him would yield limited information. When Michael is confronted with the real reason Klinger wanted to meet him, he immediately turns to the those he shares his allegiance with and things begin to heat up.
Author John Manos depicts Michael as an innocent young man turned hard in jail. Thinking that his record and arrest were expunged he learns a hard lesson when the confronted with his past. Protected by the mob and those he considers his family will he continue to protect them or will he turn? One informant hoping to plea bargain his way out of a life sentence and hoping to take down Michael and save his own soul, author John Manos brings to light to what length the police will go to in order to get their man, solve a case and take down anyone involved. But, after so many years, just who is to blame and is this informant telling the entire truth? Who really killed those inmates? As you read the prologue a mental picture will come into place and you decide the image that you see and what the author is telling you. But, Calabria is close to Michael and family but the men working for him are killers. Dialogue of Crimes: each character relates the facts as he sees or witnessed them. Bobby Andrews the informant, Michael, Klinger from what he puts together, John and Dom: each voice heard loud and clear and it is up to the reader to decide which you believe. The dialogue is crisp, authentic and definitely is indicative of the personality and job of each character.
Klinger decides to befriend Michael and the reader gets many different images of him from the various people interviewed. His ex-wife Carole presents a picture of a man that is indifferent, cold, distant and would never kill anyone. Speaking with others and managing to tape a conversation he had with someone else you get a totally different image of Michael. When told about the third man in his beating being killed, his indifference comes through, the air seems chilled around him and the reader becomes aware of just how cunning he really is as he turns the tables on Klinger, doing his homework and learn his secrets and then finding out about the death of his son. Two men caught up in their own pasts but which one will survive the future?
Justice, friendships, loyalties, betrayals, harboring guilt are just some of the issues brought to light in this novel. One young man sentenced to jail time because he walked two men into his apartment to buy drugs is arrested. Reminding readers that he hear about this in the news on a daily basis and that drug-related crimes have strict guidelines when it comes to presenting a sentence.
Hypothetical situations are discussed as Michael cleverly weaves his own spin on the events from the past bringing the situation front and center in the present hoping to ward off Klinger by explaining his definition of justice. As the situation heats up and Michael and Klinger discuss his friendship with Dom and his son John, it comes to light the history that caused him to side with his father’s wishes, his relationship with The Outfit and his take on justice.
When the final judgment is passed and the verdict read you won’t believe who remains and who does not. As Klinger and Michael form an unusual friendship and someone else decides to undue a lie, just what is discovered about that murder in 1972? Just who is really guilty and should anyone care about the murder of two prisoners after what they did the Michael and others too? What about Bobby Andrews? Who silenced him? What about Klinger? What is his definition of justice? Is Michael guilty? Should he pay for his crime? Did he commit one?
Unspoken truths are often the hardest to sort out. As Michael and Klinger continue to play a game of tag, you begin to see an underlying theme that emerges. A newfound trust or friendship comes about and an ending that will leave readers with many unanswered questions, puzzles that are incomplete and information to interpret on their own to decide who meted out the justice, who is really guilty and why some might say: unspoken truths are often heard the loudest. One murder/mystery/thriller where readers can decide and choose the ending on their own from the facts presented by each character when we hear their own interpretation of: Dialogues of a Crime.
Fran Lewis: reviewer