SINS OF THE SON by Carlton Stowers


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A crime journalist's painfully honest attempt to come to terms with his son's downward spiral into a life of drugs and criminal activity. Stowers, an Edgar winner for Careless Whispers' (not reviewed), documents the gradual metamorphosis of his son Anson from a withdrawn teenager into a drug addict who in 1988 brutally murders his ex-wife in a fit of rage. In quasi-confessional style, a professional who has reported on the tragedies of many other families seeks to understand when, in his own son's life, the point of no return was passed. Stowers delves into the early years of his career, when he spent long hours at the office and relocated several times. The tensions caused by his devotion to work take their toll on his first two marriages, which end in bitter divorces, and on his sons, Anson and Ashley. As a teenager, Anson begins to run away for days at a time; eventually he is arrested for breaking into a house and stealing food. His father enrolls him in a drug rehabilitation program, but Anson's problems with both drugs and the law escalate. His first imprisonment comes when he steals his father's car and robs a store in Louisiana; released early and still severely addicted to drugs, Anson beats, stabs, and strangles his ex-wife, Annette; pleading guilty, he returns to prison--this time for at least two decades. As Stowers struggles with this painful past, he seems to have missed the uncomfortable irony inherent in using a book to sort out his feelings about a tormented son whose problem was in large part that his father was too wrapped up in writing books. Compelling, but morally troubling.

Pub Date: July 21st, 1995
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: Hyperion