cover image In the World: From the Big House to Hollywood

In the World: From the Big House to Hollywood

Richard Stratton. Arcade, $25.99 (312p) ISBN 978-1-62872-727-2

On June 25, 1990, Stratton walked out of a federal prison in Kentucky after serving eight years on marijuana smuggling charges. In his engrossing, polished memoir, Stratton details the struggles of reinventing himself in his 40s, facing the capricious restrictions of parole, and finding love and work. But, despite his criminal past, Stratton was no typical ex-con. A journalist, he also worked as a jailhouse lawyer in prison; wrote a novel that was published, Smack Goddess; and his best friend was Pulitzer Prize–winner Norman Mailer. His life, before and after prison, was peopled with the famous and infamous. After he got out of prison, he met his future wife, Kim Wozencraft, a former law enforcement agent and convict, who wrote the novel Rush. Though the marriage didn’t last, they had three children together. Stratton went on to produce and write documentaries, publish several books, consult on HBO’s Oz TV show about prison life, and covered the fourth and final trial of John Gotti Jr. in 2005 on racketeering charges for Playboy magazine. Stratton peppers the text with government conspiracy theories as well as his views on America’s war on drugs and on prison violence. This fascinating memoir is sure to appeal to true crime fans. Agent: Ria Julien, Frances Goldin Literary. (Feb.)