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Johnnie Bunting Jr., an inmate at Orleans Correctional Facility in New York, has used his passion to learn and reveal the truth through “Son of Solomon,” a crime novel that recently received the 2008 AllBooks Reviews’ Editor’s Choice Award for Best Mystery/Thriller.
Incarcerated in 1989 at the age of 17 for murder in the second degree, Bunting, a former Evander and DeWitt Clinton High School honors student received a first-hand look at what it meant to be a prisoner in New York.
Spending his days behind bars at a maximum-security prison, he quickly became well versed in the state’s legal system.
“While in prison, I studied law and learned how to write briefs,” Bunting said.
He added inmates appreciated his knowledge and subsequently named him the “Jailhouse Lawyer.”
After persisting and completing his first successful brief, Bunting said his motivation grew. “That inspired me to write my first book,” he said.
After 10 days of writing, Bunting created David Solomon, his main character that’s serving time for a murder he didn’t commit. While incarcerated, Solomon studies law and is able to overturn his case, granting his freedom after serving 10 years of a 15-life sentence.
“I used the jailhouse lawyer concept from some of my personal experiences,” Bunting said as he explained about being assaulted by prison guards at Attica Correctional Facility.
Bunting said that while he used pieces of his life to inspire sections of the book, it is foremost a non-fiction written to inspire change.
Fiction or not, “Son of Solomon” has sparked a lot of interest among the other inmates, Bunting said. “They love it because I show a part of prison they know is real,” he explained.
To his surprise, Bunting said one of the guards even stole a copy of book to send to his friend serving in Iraq. He later apologized for the theft.
The novel also gained support from avid crime fiction enthusiast Jan Evan Whitford, who in a recent AllBooks review wrote, “The characters are so real they leap off the page.” Also adding to the drama she said was “lifelike dialogue, a generous serving of suspense, violence and surprisingly, romance!”
Having received little to no support from publishers, large and small, Bunting decided to create his own publishing company – Krhyme Publishing Inc., led by his supportive father until Bunting’s expected release in May of 2009.
“I really do hope to inspire people, and to create an atmosphere that promotes change,” Bunting explained. “I know that my experience in my 19 years of incarceration can better inform a lot of people of all ages of the problems that our people encounter, both in prison and on the streets.”
Bunting has served 19 of his 20-year sentence and currently resides in Orleans Correctional Facility in Albion, New York.
He also recently released his second book “Enterprise Corruption” and is planning a book signing tour after his release next spring.
©2008 Community Newspaper Group
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