Posted in reviews

Beyond the Tolbooth: A short story of Human Resilience by Stephen Parkes Review

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. All opinions are my own.

Author Stephen Parkes once again takes readers on a journey through one of the strangest 18th century cases you’ll ever read about in the short story, “Beyond the Tolbooth”. Here is the synopsis.

The Synopsis

A short story of human resilience. 18th-century Margaret Dickson hangs for her crimes and lives to tell about it.

The Review

What fascinated me about this story was the way the author delved into the tricky notion that not all history is set in stone. Exploring Margaret’s story, readers will instantly see the way rumors and half-truths led to the tragic circumstances of Margaret being sent to prison and later executed for them, only to survive the ordeal. It’s really a telling story, as back then a woman could be imprisoned and even executed for something as simple as concealing a pregnancy. The truth behind her story is not fully realized, and the author pinpoints these inaccuracies and allows readers to come to their own determination about who Margaret was and whether or not she truly was guilty.

The Verdict

A unique story of fighting for the truth, pinpointing historical fact from assumption, and the shocking reality that nothing is foolproof in the criminal justice system, and Margaret is one of the few people to have ever survived the most popular form of execution, a public hanging. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy of Beyond the Tolbooth by Stephen Parkes today!

Rating: 10/10

About the Author

Stephen Parkes (1960 – ) was born in Detroit, Michigan. Stephen earned a Juris Doctorate from Mississippi College School of law and a Ranger tab from the U.S. Army. He is a former Weapons platoon leader with the 2d Ranger battalion. He is one of very few individuals to experience a long-drop hanging (in his case more than eight feet) and live to tell about it. He was twice convicted of robbery with a deadly weapon, a knife, and spent four and one-half years in federal prison and county lock-ups. Stephen was certified by the State of Florida as a habitual violent felony offender in 2008. These days, Stephen is an honorable man and husband. These days, Stephen lives free and prospers.


Anthony Avina, (Born March 1990), is an author, a journalist, and a blogger. Born in Southern California, he has battled through injuries, disabilities, moves back and forth across the country, and more, yet still maintains a creative voice that he hopes to use not only to entertain but to inspire hope in even the darkest situations. He writes short stories and novels in several genres, and is also a seasoned journalist for the online magazine, On Request Magazine, as well as the popular site TheGamer. Having grown up reading the books of Dean Koontz and Stephen King, they inspired him to write new and exciting stories that delved into the minds of richly developed characters. He constantly tries to write stories that have never been told before, and to paint a picture in your mind while you are reading the book, as if you could see every scene of the book as if it were a movie you were watching. His stories will get your imaginations working, and will also show that in spite of the most despairing and horrific situations, hope is never out of reach. He am always writing, and so there will never be a shortage of new stories for your reading pleasure.

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