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Lunch » Tags » Book » Reviews » Son of a Grifter: The Twisted Tale of Sante and Kenny Kimes, the Most Notorious Con Artists in America » User review

A grippingly frank memoir about love, loss, and survival.

  • May 11, 2013
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In a time where the human psyche is incessantly bombarded with graphic tales of rape, robbery, grafting and murder, a person would be led to believe that the age of violence and vicious people has climaxed to such an extreme degree that nothing would be shocking anymore. One would think. But then Sante and Kenny Kimes-a cunning, sadistic, peacockish, manipulative, cold-blooded, greedy, murderous mother-son duo-enter the maelstrom of the media blitzkrieg, and the person rolls his or her eyes with the firm affirmation that there are still people out there in the world who can truly make you sick to your stomach. As a buxom beauty who often passed herself off as Elizabeth Taylor, Sante Kimes nee Chambers possessed charisma, an unremitting drive for wealth and the finer things in life, an acerbic wit and an intense overflowing cauldron of love for her two kids. But all of these qualities meshed into one was simply a weak veneer that covered the dominating, homicidal sociopath that she, in reality, was. For all her enveloping love, loyalty and excitement that she gave, Sante Kimes did not extend it out of the kindness of her heart, for, like a cult leader, she demanded complete allegiance, absolute devotion. Her philosophy (though radically off kilter) of how to live life might have been: What you do for me, I'll do for you. What you do to me, I'll do to you. You scratch my back, I'll scratch your back. More often than not, the people who 'scratched' Sante or Kenny's backs became more embroiled with law enforcement then the actual criminals themselves. Almost every deed that Sante and Kenny Kimes pulled had a psychotic tinge to it. Every emotion that they could turn on-like a light switch-was a combustible one. A halo of violence widended around them and those unfortunately catapulted into their inner sanctum (Ken Kimes, Sr. and Kent Walker are cases-in-point): arson, slavery, verbal and physical abuse, larceny, fraud, forgery, attempted murder, quadruple murder...Son of a Grifter, written by the elder more emotionally balanced son, is an intensely disturbing read, because it will take the reader to the intimate core and private life of a genuinely dysfunctional, warped and soulless pair. Kent Walker doesn't simply give an analysis of his mother's utter rancorous and loathsome behavior. He talks about how her instability altered the personality of his half-brother, Kenny, once a loving child who was capable of showing empathy. In her emotionally volatile clutches, he became emasculated and lost his own identity; like his mother, he evolved into a psychopathic killer with predatory lusts, ready to act out at his mother's bidding. Arm in arm, mother and son walked down a bloody warpath, and those who obstructed them, conscientiously or not, were down away with: David Kazdin, Irene Silverman, Syed Bilal Ahmed...Sante Kimes wanted for her kids what all parents want for their children: a healthy mind, a healthy body and success. As a proprietor of a vacuum cleaning business, Kent Walker did not rise to be the CEO of HP, Xerox or a Fortune 500 company as his mother had envisioned for him. But considering his bizarre and frenetic upbringing, what Kent Walker achieved for himself and for his family goes beyond extraordinary; he in fact deserves his loving family, a cold beer and a damn good life.
A grippingly frank memoir about love, loss, and survival.

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More Son of a Grifter: The Twisted ... reviews
review by . April 12, 2002
In a time where the human psyche is incessantly bombarded with graphic tales of rape, robbery, grafting and murder, a person would be led to believe that the age of violence and vicious people has climaxed to such an extreme degree that nothing would be shocking anymore. One would think. But then Sante and Kenny Kimes-a cunning, sadistic, peacockish, manipulative, cold-blooded, greedy, murderous mother-son duo-enter the maelstrom of the media blitzkrieg, and the person rolls his or her eyes with …
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Convicted last year of murdering millionaire heiress Irene Silverman in New York City and waiting to stand trial for a second murder in California, Sante and Kenny Kimes, mother and son, have become two of the best-known American criminals of recent years. In the wake of widespread, high-profile media coverage, this book purports to fill in missing details of Sante's murky biography. Walker, who is Sante Kimes's eldest son and half-brother to Kenny, catalogues the wrongdoings of the woman he still affectionately calls "Mom," including everything from shoplifting and theft to multiple counts of arson, insurance fraud and slavery. Walker vividly recounts his childhood with Sante and her third husband, Ken Kimes, detailing how the couple indoctrinated him into criminality. The author, who appears to be exorcising personal demons, does a fine job of elucidating the psychological and emotional price of being loved and cared for by a sociopath. It is this tension, between the loving mother and the criminal willing to neglect and at times even betray her child, that pushes the story forward. Unfortunately, the litany of crimes is so vast and comes so fast that the narrative never quite lingers long enough to develop real drama or suspense. Well researched and touching, though, it testifies to how one son can evolve into a killer and the other live to tell the tale. As a chronicle of Sante Kimes's life, it's unlikely to be surpassed by any other. The only person likely to tell a more...
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Details

ISBN-10: 0061031690
ISBN-13: 978-0061031694
Author: Kent Walker with Mark Schone
Publisher: Avon

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