While there is typically nothing funny about murder, author Tom Kranz manages to draw out more than a few smiles in his new novel Budland. The protagonist and a professional smart aleck, Bud Remmick, finds himself in jail after killing his intolerable boss, and he doesn’t seem to regret the choice in the least. The novel skips back and forth between life behind bars and the life Bud left behind, giving readers a better picture of why a seemingly smart and driven man would throw his freedom away for a single act of reckoning.
Bud is a fascinating character at the center of the tale, particularly in his responses to the challenges and dangers of prison life. However, as the book goes on, it becomes clear that his ingenious plan to rid himself of a terrible boss – and terrible person – may end up eliminating all the other good from his life, including his wife and his self-image.
Hilariously tongue-in-cheek at times, and thoughtfully profound at others, Kranz delivers a unique and entertaining book in Budland. As much as this book is about existence within the prison system, it is also squarely focused on the prisons we form in our own lives, and the extreme methods of escape some people inevitably choose. As such, it’s a well-rounded novel, in turns harrowing, heartfelt, and amusing, all of which Kranz deftly balances throughout this compelling story.
Michael F. Archer, Former Executive Producer, KYW-TV
I worked with Tom Kranz for over ten years in the local television news business. Tom was one of the most talented writer/producers I've known in over 40 years in the business. "Budland" comes from his sharp observations of life in a TV newsroom and emotions that lead to life changing consequences. The story of Bud Remmick comes right out today's headlines about sexual harassment in the workplace. Bud's own anger issues and hatred of his boss drive him to seek revenge for his victimized female colleague that changes his life. Bud pays for his actions by going to prison, threatening his marriage, and destroying his career. Tom's authentic dialogue and character development will draw you into a world of a man fighting his own demons and how he comes to understand what he did and why. You'll meet the damaged victim, the boss you'll love to hate, the lawyer with his own motives, the prison superintendent with a past, and Bud's wife who also finds herself a victim. This is Tom's first promising novel, and it's certainly worth a trip to "Budland".
Paul Falk, Goodreads Review
Tom Kranz's imagery set the stage of prison life that made it feel all so real. Like actually being there. Behind bars. The main character was so well-developed that it left little question about his troubled inner thoughts and demons. Like him or not, I came to know him well. The storyline never wavered as it remained on track throughout the tale. This character-driven narrative was penned with an easy-to-read style of prose. It was enjoyable - beginning to end.
Borden "Bud" Remmick age 45, had been senior producer at Kaleidoscope News when his life had taken a dramatic downturn. He had been found guilty for the murder of his boss. As bad luck would have it, he was culpable for a mountain of books that had crashed down ending his former employer's life. Death by book. That might be a first. He hadn't planned to kill him. It had been ruled involuntary manslaughter and had been sentenced to spend the next four to six years of his life in Kings Pointe Correctional Institution.
Bud seemed to adjust right away to life in the joint: three square meals a day, access to TV, books, exercise and a place to sleep. What more could he ask for? Let me see - maybe freedom. The author suddenly threw in a shocking twist. From out of the clear blue, Bud had gotten shanked by his longtime cellmate. A makeshift shiv had been plunged deep into Bud's right side. As he lie bleeding profusely on the cell floor, Bud did not know what could have provoked such a deadly attack. Only months away from serving out his full sentence, he had hoped to make it home to his wife. Maybe a new beginning. A fresh start. Both time and blood were running out.