The ambiguous chasm that separates justice from the law affects our lives constantly, more so than we are probably willing to admit.
There are fundamental and universal truths that one encounters every day, emanating from classic conflicts between justice and the law, conscience and the law, the subtlety of innocence versus the law, and the polarity of innocence and evil. In the end they are mostly interpretive, and each of us, individually and collectively, must own our interpretations and the behaviors they spawn.
Why do people cheer vigilante justice when it’s illegal? We all have lines and boundaries, but at what point do they seem to impose upon justifiable response? When does society choose to trespass beyond certain judicial mandates that defy the moral sentiments of the people, or the individual from those self imposed? Wouldn’t any good father be conflicted if his daughter were raped by a recidivist pedophile, released by a judge on a technicality?
In The Wilderness of Time, on February 12th of 2008, Mickey McNamara, a 63 year-old home town hero and beloved friend, strangles his high school sweetheart, Mimi Wickes, who has returned from a 40-year hiatus. His confession initiates a murder charge from the County Attorney, one hidden in a 50 year old vendetta. St. Paul police Lieutenant and Mickey’s oldest friend, Sean O’Dell, leads the investigation, only to find that the woman was a serial killer since high school. O’Dell, a decorated officer, plants evidence to save his friend.
The story follows the converging paths of Mimi’s deranged journey and O’Dell’s investigation up to the strangulation, subsequent trial, and in the epilogue...the truth. Is justice served? Whatever your answer, you will have an opinion.
Earlier this week author Robert Siqveland spoke with us about his motivation to write his first novel, The Immaculate Erection. Don't let the title fool you... this is a nostalgic trip back to a time when "...guys fought with their fists, and hand-shakes were sacred...A time of innocence, rides and family breakfasts after Mass on Quinquegesima Sunday" a time when everyone in the neighborhood knew everyone else. A time when the mysteries of the church held families together with fear, shame, and often guilt.
Where did this story idea come from?
Growing up Catholic, Siqveland came up with the idea for this story line long ago. After a career in finance, he had long been soul searching. First guitar, then art, where he was even a able to sell a few of his paintings, but he says:
"writing took me to a higher plane....the Church crisis was merely the catalyst.
I knew I had to write this story."
The extent of this moral crime has left a bitter taste for author Siqveland, who questions early church reaction to pedophile priests, equating them with serpents hiding within the cloaks of the church. Although this novel is centered within a Catholic community, the community and family bonds that were so close during Siqveland's youth some 50 years ago, have come undone through the misrepresentation, lies and a general aura of deceit within the church. Siqveland says it has taken some time to put his relationship with the church into perspective, a process which some of his characters may never be able to.
Like many other early readers I was totally absorbed by this book, finding it tough to set down. Siqveland deftly peels away the layers of time to expose characters and events, interwoven relationships between friends, families, parents, and the Church. He has done this so well that I was unable to define when the whole thing became mine. The friends could be any one of our friends, the neighbors are our neighbors, and the rise and fall of life within the pages could very well be our own.
I asked how it felt to have written such a unique and well written story, and this is what he had to say,
"I think I have, for some time, wanted to write a story about growing up and coming of age in the innocence of the 50’s and 60’s, through memorable characters like Holden Caulfield and Garp. The child in all of us discovering the mysteries of life, the formation of relationships with the genders, peers, parents, friends parents, coaches, teachers, and the Church. The influences that gave us the victories and defeats, fears, shame and guilt, as well as strength and self-concept are the environment that forms personality and priority. We all went through it, and we all knew characters like those in my book. So when I began to receive affirmations on the story, I was most pleased with those that said: “ I formed a real relationship with your characters, felt their pains and celebrated their joys. I wanted more. I miss them, and they truly affected me.”
To say Bob found the writing experience a rewarding one is not quite accurate. With no knowledge of word processing, computers or typing, he set out to learn. Within nine months from the first keystroke, his manuscript was finally done and, after sending several copies to friends, positive feedback began pouring in. He expected some stroking, but was stunned at how moving these early critics felt his story was. They all described finding parallels to their own lives and felt emotionally connected with the characters and events in the story.
Look for another literary work currently in the making from Robert Siqveland and Shawondasse Press.
Read a Sample Chapter: Click Here
Sean O’Dell, a decorated 63-year-old cop, plants evidence in order
to protect his friend of 50 years from a murder conviction. He
knows that his friend is the real victim and chooses to risk his oath,
reputation, and even freedom to prove it. Does the end justify the
means, and what price must he pay for a justice that may be veiled
in a lifelong untruth?
“These were the times that raked leaves collected in the street gutters where they burned and smoldered through lazy October days. Everybody loved the smell and everybody liked Ike. Fathers wore brown felt, wide-brimmed ‘man hats’ and mothers wore funny round hats with nets. The times of Pall Malls and Luckys, when guys fought with their fists, and handshakes were sacred. Families had two goals: add to savings accounts every month and pay off the home mortgage. There were lots of Savings and Loans and corner grocery stores where kids bought Push-Ups and Dreamsicles. Teens ran home to watch Bob and Justine, Pat and Kenny on Bandstand, Ed Sullivan, Snookie and Giselle on a cumbersome, small-screen, black and white Philco. A time of innocence, rides and family breakfasts after Mass on Quinquegesima Sunday, while the haunting refrains of Gregorian chants echoed in the heads of well-dressed and well-mannered children.
It was a friendlier time and a slower quieter time. It was a time like all times that inexorably trudges through the shine, to the dull, and to the rust, until it is filed into the pages of history and the temporary alcoves of memory.”