book discussions Book Reviews Short Story

DEAD MEN WALKING by Duncan Ralston

I’m probably going to lose points for telling you this, but… I did not realize what the cover art is until – just now! I was only seeing a window – not prison bars.

Cover art is titled "HANDS OF THE PRISONER" by BortN66.
Cover art is titled “HANDS OF THE PRISONER” by BortN66.

It’s awesome work, and I especially like how the shadow of the book’s title is being thrown onto the head of the accused. Maybe I just wasn’t paying close enough attention before now(?) IDK. ::sigh::
It reminds me of one of my absolute favorite pictures of Mike Ness.


“Stay dead, Bitch!”
~ from my Things I Wish I Would’ve Said collection.
~ from my “What I really said was…” collection

Welcome to Alamosa County Prison, Noob. You wanna fit in ’round here, just call it Alamo, like the rest of us. I’m George Palomino, your Welcome Wagon!
It takes a special kind of person to work here on Death Row. Yeah, that’s why we call it that – Z Block. Dead men walkin’, just like zombies.
Some people got what it takes to work here, and some people don’t. You got that look, though… you might just be OK here – if you can make it through your very first shift! I’m just kiddin’ with you, Noob. The man that you’re replacing? They didn’t tell you? That’s a long fuckin’ story, man. Well, we do have some time to kill before our rounds. It all happened on the night of José Vasquez’s execution.”

“On Z Block, we’re all dead men walking, whether we wanna believe it or not. Just a matter of fuckin’ time.”

“The man you’re askin’ about… that was C.O. Friedkin.
The late Jim Friedkin. Yeah, dead.
I’ve had this job at Alamo for a looong time. I’ve been here while eight death-penalty verdicts were ‘carried out’, and the old-timers have told me stories about even more. No matter how many you see, you’ll never get used to them.
They’re bad. Real bad.
But the worst, the absolute fuckin’ worst execution of all was José Vasquez. It killed Jim Friedkin. It literally killed him. That’s the night it all happened.
Chaos erupted so fast. José’s heart-monitor was flat-lining as he was ripping out of his restraints! Jim was using his baton, trying to ‘subdue’ the prisoner about the head & neck, but it was violently ripped from his hands. He was left with no way to protect himself.”

“There was so much blood in that room. Blood & vomit.
I’ll never play Jenga again.
José Vasquez was killed, the second time, by a shotgun blast to the head. He didn’t get back up after that.
Sometimes, I can still hear the beeeeepppp…”




Did you catch the author’s nod to Thomas Harris in the story?

You can smell my what?!
SotL had Miggs ~ DMW has Biggs



DEAD MEN WALKING on Amazon / Goodreads

Find the author on his website / Facebook / Amazon / Goodreads

Shadow Work Publishing