The Unremarkable Circumstances of Inmate 17656-090
Martin Brown Publishers
Permian Basin Writers Workshop Manuscript Contest,
Red City Review's 2018 Best Debut Novel
A young man who suffered childhood abuse falls in love with two friends living on a small sailboat and lives a year of happiness only to see his world cave in when he's indicted for receiving child pornography.
The sights, sounds, and smells of the Texas Gulf Coast come to life in this unusual but captivating work. Regardless of which side one takes, Sage Webb courageously dwells where few have dared, and boldly questions public policy and basic notions of justice. Webb crafts a subtle tale of a wounded protagonist who gets in well over his head vis-à-vis perplexing laws and persistent attitudes. We are drawn into the colorful lives of a group of close-knit but lovably flawed friends. What started off as the protagonist’s act of self-medication, an attempt to heal from abuse, turned out to be a profound mistake that forever changed not only his life but those of everyone around him. Prejudging aside, this work will provoke obliging discussions about a topic best left undiscussed.
Jaime Salazar, Author of Legion of the Lost and Escaping the Amazon
I thought this book was wonderful. It did an incredible job of portraying a defendant as a human, with all the nuances that go with an actual person instead of what we use to describe the general sex-offender registrant. The prose and imagery are fantastic.
I do wish readers got to know how long the sentence was in the end. That's my only complaint. This was a beautiful novel and I finished it in about a day and a half.
Laura Simmons, The Paper Tigerx Social-Justice Advocate (@thepapertigerx)
The book develops the characters wonderfully, telling about the daily lives, beliefs, and personalities of the main character, Blair, and Grayson. Their friendship is the kind of bond that anyone would want in their own lives. The darker subject matter in the book certainly makes it less palatable, but it is still an intriguing story that is captivating and described in extreme skill. At times heartbreaking and at others hopeful, this book stands out by discussing topics that most people would rather pretend don’t exist in today’s society.
Red City Review
See the full review here.
This is a remarkable book by an author of extraordinary talent. The story revolves around a protagonist accused of a terrible crime. The author's spare, beautiful prose takes us through a life that should be rare, that we hope would be nonexistent, but unfortunately is not. The author is a former federal public defender and knows too well that some criminals were themselves victims of terrible crimes. Where other books could dip into melodrama, or become apologist, Sage Webb first drops hints of the protagonist's plight, and then slowly gives more detail, while thoroughly humanizing both the perpetrator and victim of the crimes. The story moves, but doesn't rush. It is an engrossing read on a subject most would like to ignore. Like all great books, it leaves me wanting to read more from this writer.
Joseph Schreiber, Author of Devils Walk Through Galveston and Ghosts of the Mid-Country