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Life Sentences

Author: Miller, Tekla Dennison Set In . . .
 North America, USA, Michigan
Genre: Fiction
Time Frame: 2000s
Published: 2005
Description: They may be teachers, attorneys, social workers, housewives, correctional employees or doctors. They seem like ordinary women. Yet they are not. They are like Pilar Brookstone.
Faced with the possibility she will be a serial killer's next victim, Pilar Brookstone transfers from the University of Michigan to the University of Wisconsin Medical School. Pilar becomes an advocate for the less fortunate and as a doctor cares for inmates at Hawk Haven Maximum Security Prison for men. It's there she meets and falls in love with the same Michigan serial killer, handsome and charismatic Chad Wilbanks. While the two lovers plan Chad’s escape, Pilar is threatened and stalked. She is eventually murdered by the persons she trusted to help her free Chad- -Jane Carson, a nurse and colleague, and Tommy Johnson, Jane's lover who is also an escapee and Chad's friend. As Pilar’s life spirals out of control, her mother’s, Celeste, spirals upwards. Celeste becomes the catalyst (and the true protagonist) in the hunt for Pilar’s killers. Celeste's story is revealed along with Pilar’s but it is a more universal one for women. Celeste is caught in an emotionally abusive relationship while struggling to be a good mother attempting to keep the family intact. Though wrought with guilt because of her daughter’s murder, Celeste gains independence and strength through the death of her only child and the hunt for Tommy and Jane.
Life Sentences is a work of fiction about love, loss, betrayal and murder. It is inspired by Ms. Miller’s experiences while employed by the Michigan Department of Corrections, the last six years as a warden for both a women's and a men's maximum security prisons. Though there are few books written on the subject of women who love and marry prisoners, it is not unusual for such relationships to develop even between employee and inmate. Life Sentences is not only a peek inside a prison, but it is an examination of a little known aspect about which the public appears curious.
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