Killer Pappas by Harry Rice
Zack Pappas, a personable, popular, and intelligent high school student, living in the shadow of a revered, athletically talented, older brother, has his academic success and political ambitions promoted by a controlling mother, Felicity, while he is emotionally degraded by Cyrus, his cruel, insensitive father. While defending his mother, Zack commits an act of violence, which sets in motion a series of events resulting in his expulsion from high school and a long-enduring sense of guilt. His hopes for either an academic or political career are damaged, but Zack, with the help of his uncle, Hector, and over the opposition of his mother, takes advantage of an unusual physical attribute which determines his decision to pursue a career in boxing. He becomes an outstanding success and sets out on a journey of self-discovery involving physical, emotional, and, with advice and help of Ping Yang, a wise and trusted counselor, spiritual growth.
Harry Rice’s higher education started at Columbia College in 1949 and ended at Teachers College, four blocks away, in 1968. He taught at the junior-high-school level for six years and at Queens College for thirty-four years. His specialties were teaching social studies, and teaching others to teach social studies better. His doctoral dissertation, not widely read, is titled Henry B. Stanton as a Political Abolitionist (University Microfilms, 1968). He switched from nonfiction to fiction to reach more readers following his retirement in 2002. Killer Pappas, his only novel, seems to have come out of nowhere, but alas, here it is.
Harry (nickname: harirama) likes the three B’s: bridge, boxing, and baseball (particularly the St. Louis Cardinals), the theatre, movies, philosophy, psychology, reading, writing, zen, and advaita vedanta. His mantra is: “smile, laugh, joke a lot.” He likes cats and dogs a lot and people somewhat.