Authors Showcase: Mama’s Madness by Billy Ray Chitwood


The Book: Mama’s Madness

The Author: Billy Ray Chitwood

The Story: A story inspired by a northern California news account a few years ago … Some of the details in this fictional penning are true.

Some of the details are exaggerated and are simply the work of the author’s imagination. What are clearly evidenced in this novel is the coldness of a mother’s heart and the madness of her cruelty.

The mind cannot comprehend lives the children depicted here were forced to endure: from black punishment closets of hell, kitchen tables used for crudely performed operations, to a high sierra execution by fire.

The terror is real.

The pain is vicariously felt.

Unbelievable? Yes, it is unbelievable that such depravity, such MAMA’S MADNESS exists in our world. Accept the embellishments with the truth.

From Billy Ray Chitwood:

Billy Ray Chitwood
Billy Ray Chitwood

When researching the actual crimes that took place in California in the mid-1980s, it was difficult to wrap my mind around the terrible acts of punishment this mother meted out to her children and the awful murders that followed. My fictional Mama’s Madness was inspired by some of these actual events.

This was a tough book to write and there were times when my emotions were raw. This novel has a different ending and some novel action scenes than the actual case referenced, but the punishments and the fiery murders are all real. My ending for ‘Mama’ is different from California’s ending for ‘Mama.’

Review by Eden:

Mr. Chitwood writes a fascinating piece of fiction, but it’s a difficult book to read. Why? Because it involves difficult subject matter — child abuse, sexual abuse, and murder of one’s own children.

The main character – “Mama” is a despicable human being. She is, in fact, by virtue of her acts – inhuman. And then you remember this is based on a true story. It is sobering to read fiction that is so frightening and imitates life.

As a news junkie and observer of the human psyche, I’m all too aware of the horrific acts humanity imposes upon itself – through acts of war, in the name of religion, and in many instances, via the instability of the mind. The landscape of Mama’s mind is dark indeed, and the worst part is she shares it with the people around her. As the reader, we see the results of her warped way of thinking.

I commend Mr. Chitwood for not being gratuitous with his description of the horror. He allowed the story to dictate how much detail was needed. Mama’s wrath in itself was bone-chilling enough, and the author did a very good job of conveying this.

Review by Timothy M. Tays:

Mama’s Madness by Billy Ray Chitwood is an excellently written story about an abused protagonist (Tammie Jo), her sociopathic mama, and the senseless crimes that Mama and her accomplices commit and are eventually held accountable for.

As unsettling as the characters and their behavior may be, Chitwood manages to almost balance their menace with the goodness and dedication of law enforcement and Tammie Jo’s struggle to reconcile her environment with her possible future (or her lack of a future if Mama is left unrestrained).

Chitwood’s ability to interweave the profile of a monster, the coming of age and redemption of a girl, and a fascinating multiple-murder investigation is masterful. I highly recommend “Mama’s Madness” for lovers of gritty murder investigations that include the perpetrator’s, victim’s, and detectives’ point-of-views. I will certainly continue reading Mr. Chitwood’s body of work.

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