August 21, 1996 |
Edward Bunker writes about the nether world of society's outcasts with a passion and insight that comes from having lived life close to the bone. Once branded an incorrigible three-time loser, he has written a jarring new novel, "Dog Eat Dog" (St. Martin's), that exposes the flaws of California's harsh "three strikes" law. As Bunker sees it, while the law may deter some crime, it will also cause murder. Bunker, 60, has long had cult celebrity from three previous novels.
January 26, 1986 |
Anyone perusing the membership lists of the Screen Actors Guild and the Writers Guild will realize, quite quickly, that many actors and writers have interesting and varied backgrounds. But few, it is safe to say, can equal that of Edward Bunker--writer, actor and ex-convict. Bunker is a man who, until a few years ago, was better known to the former wardens of places like San Quentin and Terminal Island than he was to the guilds' membership secretaries. But that slowly has been changing.
October 29, 2000
I'm always glad to see an ex-con leave prison and make his mark on the world in a positive manner ("Edward Bunker's Convictions," by Robert Dellinger, Oct. 1). When I started working as a prison guard at Soledad in 1985, an old convict told me that if I wanted to understand criminals, I should read Bunker's "No Beast So Fierce." He was Bunker's cellmate at San Quentin during the '60s, and he told me that he'd read it page by page as it was being written. I took his advice and was impressed by the raw candor of the book.
August 25, 2000 |
"Education of a Felon" is a masterful summation of the hard and brutal life of crime and prison from which Edward Bunker chiseled the vigorous prose that marks him as America's foremost chronicler of prison life (which plays no minor role in American society). With prison-building burgeoning all over the country, there are now more than 2 million prisoners in the nation, 160,000 of them in California.
August 18, 1996 |
Successful crime fiction, like successful crime, has a certain characteristic shape. In order to be effective, it requires simplicity and authority, and a deft attention to the bottom line. There should be nothing extraneous, no detail left to chance. As Edward Bunker explains in his fourth novel, "Dog Eat Dog," "I'd steal with a gun if the score was right. But if anybody got hurt, it was a failure. The idea was to be smooth."
November 10, 2000 |
Actors who direct movies tend, naturally, to be labor-intensive on the performance front, and it's no surprise that Steve Buscemi's "Animal Factory" is distinguished from top to bottom with actors as intensely committed as he is. (Mickey Rourke and Tom Arnold, for instance, play sweet and savage deviants with consummate bravado.