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Quincy's Poking Lions' full of unexpected twists

Cheney Free Press of Cheney, Washington

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Tucked in neatly on the Cheney-Spokane Road next to a pond that seasonally hosts otters is the home of Dr. Keith Quincy. Nationally recognized for his university teaching, he is also a prolific author. His latest book, "Poking Lions," published in England, is now available in the U.S.

Fiction in name only, this book recounts the "real life" and career of Eddie Dooley. Born in New York to an abusive household, and brutalized at parochial school, Eddie finds a new home with an old German safecracker who treats him like a son.

Eddie is finally happy, but it does not last. A chain of events lands him in Sing Sing Prison on death row. He is only 16. At the last moment, the governor commutes his sentence to life at Rikers Island, where the warden wangles his parole into the military.

Army psychiatrists spot something in Eddie they can exploit. The Army turns him into an elite assassin; using techniques so brutal they will curdle your blood, constantly 'poking' Eddie to greater heights of savagery. Eddie's kill list makes Chris Kyle, the SEAL with 160 official sniper hits, look like an undergrad next to his teacher.

Eddie's last unofficial kill was his 114th entry, only four less than his official list. As an assassin, Eddie had murdered 232 people. Add to this the three men he had killed when he was only 9 and the grand total of murders stood at 235.

Throughout the book, Eddie struggles with the demon and angel on his shoulders that as Quincy states "are in all of us." He uses the novel to show us what the government asks soldiers to do in our name, and the horrible burden of guilt it makes them carry — an injury of the soul as dreadful as the gravest bodily wound.

Once the Army realizes it has created a monster it can no longer control, Eddie is sent to a base in Augsburg, Germany to work as a lowly clerk. There Eddie returns to crime, but having vowed to kill no more, he relies on brilliance instead of violence. Right under the Army's nose, he steals tanks and jeeps from the base.

After his service, Eddie links up with a Seattle cat burglar, cracking mansion safes. But the burglar makes a mistake that lands Eddie in a Walla Walla cell. There, Eddie confronts his actions with the help of the prison psychiatrist, who searches for what makes him tick.

The novel is full of twists that one does not expect. If this were a movie it would certainly be rated NC-17. Yet these horrific acts are counterbalanced by the struggle of one man to keep his humanity.

"Poking Lions" retails for

$15, and is available locally at Cheney Feed & Tack on First Street, or online at Amazon, com.

Phil Kiver is a Cheney High School and Eastern Washington University graduate, author and Iraq/Afghanistan Army veteran.

Copyright 2016 Cheney Free Press, Cheney, Washington. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: July 14, 2016

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