Author: Jeffrey Archer
First published January 1, 2002
272 pages, Paperback
ISBN: 9780330418591 (ISBN10: 0330418599)
It’s a beautiful summer day, and the sun is shining through the window of my cell. I’ve been locked up for twelve hours with no relief in sight – just eighteen more to go.
But I’m not alone in my misery. In the cell below me, a young man is being punished for a minor crime, locked up for eighteen and a half hours in solitary confinement.
It’s shocking to think that this is happening in modern-day Britain.
Jeffrey Archer knows this all too well. After a long and grueling perjury trial, he was sentenced to four years in prison.
For the first twenty-two days and fourteen hours, he was locked up in HMP Belmarsh, a high-security prison that holds some of the country’s most dangerous criminals. Hell is his personal account of those days – the frustration, the fear, and the despair.
It’s a powerful and moving story that sheds light on the harsh realities of life behind bars.
About the Author
Jeffrey Howard Archer, also known as Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare, was born on April 15, 1940. He has worn many hats in his lifetime, including being a former politician and an accomplished author.
Archer was once a Member of Parliament and deputy chairman of the Conservative Party, and later became a life peer in 1992. However, his political career was marred by several controversies, including a conviction for perverting the course of justice that lead to his imprisonment.
Despite this, he found love with his wife Mary Archer, who is a scientist specializing in solar power. Outside of politics, Archer has made a name for himself as a talented novelist, playwright, and short story writer.
Jeffrey Archer’s Hell is a riveting novel that takes readers on a journey through the dark underworld of New York City’s criminal justice system. Archer, a prolific writer known for his crime-thriller novels, published this work on January 1, 2002.
The book sets out to tell the story of Danny Cartwright, a working-class man who is wrongly accused of murdering his best friend, Bernie Wilson. Danny is quickly sentenced to twenty-two years in prison, leaving behind his girlfriend, Beth Wilson, and their unborn child.
The story follows Danny’s harsh life behind bars, his relationship with Beth, the corrupt system that put him there, and his pursuit of justice. Archer does an excellent job in painting an immersive picture of life inside prison walls.
As Danny navigates his new surroundings, we are given a glimpse into the daily routines, hardships, and brutality that come with imprisonment. Archer’s portrayal is based on his personal experience campaigning for prison reform in the United Kingdom, lending even more authenticity to the book.
The character development in Hell is one of the book’s strengths. Danny’s transformation from a naive young man to a hardened convict is masterfully portrayed, as is Beth’s evolution from a wide-eyed youth to a single mother who has to fend for herself.
Readers will root for Danny and Beth throughout the book, hoping that they will find a way to reunite against all odds. The novel’s pacing could use some improvement, however, as there are lulls in the story that drag in comparison to its more gripping moments.
Additionally, some of the supporting characters are not as fleshed out as they could be, leaving readers to have a somewhat incomplete picture of them. Despite these minor flaws, Hell is a superb book that immerses its readers in the world of crime and punishment.
The themes it explores, including corruption, justice, and the human condition, are powerful and relevant. The book is a haunting reminder of the dangers of a justice system that can sometimes be anything but just.
In conclusion, Hell is a must-read for fans of crime-thriller novels and anyone interested in exploring the complexities of the criminal justice system. Although it has its weaknesses, it is a masterpiece that will leave readers thinking long after they put it down.
On a scale of one to ten, I would give it an eight for its originality, thought-provoking themes, and masterful character development.