For most, teenage angst is like a sacred rite of passage into adulthood. You fight with your parents because they don’t like the clothes you wear or the music you listen to. They tell you to be home at a certain time and to do your homework. You tell them to screw off. Rebellion is a part of growing up; a cat and mouse game of sneaking around and pushing the limits of independence. But what happens when that rebellion is fueled by extreme betrayal, years of abuse, spiritual brainwashing, and a final fit of explosive rage? In the case of 16 year old Rick Watkinson, it meant one fateful night that would alter the course of his life forever.
Rick Watkinson was a typical American kid growing up with his mother, father, and brother in California. Idolizing his father Robert, a pilot, the young boy reveled in their shared passion for flying and fostering their adventurous spirit sailboat racing and travelling. But the strength of that father-son bond was crushed when his father filed for divorce soon after moving the family to Oregon. 10 year-old Rick was devastated – unable to comprehend his father’s wicked betrayal of the family. With his bitter and vengeful mother’s help, the love for his father quickly turned to hate. The center of his universe became the center of his scorn.
Consumed by her own hatred and personal issues, his mother was unable to offer him the support and security his confused psyche needed and craved. God would save them she said. God would look after them. They just had to believe and pray – don the armour in the fight against Satan and his army of demons. Ricky would lead the way, with his ‘special gift’ he was ‘Christ’s Little Warrior’.
Darkness, light, light, darkness. With his emotions slammed tight behind an iron wall of resolve, Rick and his lost soul took to the streets, finding comfort and his voice, among the criminals and socially angry young adults. They became his strength. They became his guide. If fences needed to be jumped, things stolen or sabotaged, it was often ‘crazy little Ricky’ who was asked to do the deed. This built confidence, and finally made him feel like he was a part of something again.
By the time he was 15, his mother had lost any semblance of control and had called her ex-husband, now living in Alaska, to come and get Rick. Rick did not want to go to Alaska to live with his father and step-mother. But he had no choice, and things did no go well for the teen. No longer able to withstand both the physical and psychological abuse, Rick snapped, and in a moment of passion, fatally shot both his father Bob and his step-mother Rosemary.
“Ghost” is the true story of Rick Watkinson, his journey from a tumultuous childhood, to his current stay and personal growth behind the thick steel bars in the Alaska State Penitentiary. Who is this man and what causes a person to cross the boundaries of humanity? Can these events be strictly traced to upbringing and environment, or do some people have an inherent propensity for evil? Is redemption or rehabilitation even possible? Watkinson’s compelling true story and subsequent trial and extremely harsh sentencing raise serious questions about society in general, the treatment of minors, and the power of the American justice system. Stripped down to its core, this is a story of a boy who just wanted to be loved. A boy who just wanted to belong, and be a part of a family, whatever that incarnation of a family might have been.
The Richard Watkinson Story
Written in collaboration with John Coventry
"It completely draws you in! I'm not a huge reader, however your writing could make me one! Congrats! Awesome!"
"I totally loved it! It was engaging, I could mentally picture everything that was going on, and could honestly feel the gut wrenching pain Rick must have been feeling. Your introduction was great driving home the theory of do not judge until you know the whole story"
"Before I even read Chapter 1 of "Ghost" I wondered why Rick Watkinson, who sits in a jail cell for the rest of his life,wanted his story to be told. Why would someone who did such a horrific act want the public to know his story and bring attention to it? What would bring a 16 year old Rick, at the time of the murders, to the point where he took the shots that killed two people. Being in the medical field, I believed there had to be a story behind the story. Trish Faber will capture your attention in Chapter 1 of Ghost. It is compelling and written so well. It is real and harsh, yet heart breaking at the same time. Trish invites you to 'feel' or 'not feel' what was running through Rick's head, at time of the tragedy. The writing and intensity will intrigue you. I wanted to know who Ghost was."
( J. Abbot)
"What I wanted to tell you is that I absolutely loved what I read. I'm not kidding. You had me interested right from the first paragraph. What I found awesome is how realistically you captured the mindset of Rick. He is not completely one way or the other. Yes... he committed horrible acts but he is not without remorse. He is also shocked by what he did and fluctuates between that and feeling justified. I look forward to reading more to get a better understanding of the circumstances that worked so against Rick and his family. Well done!"
"What a powerful book! Trish has allowed her readers to walk with Rick through the incomprehensible act of murder, immersing them into his emotional pain leading up to the act and the subsequent realization of what his action meant for himself and those few souls that he loved. As the book progresses, Trish reveals the many layers of trauma and betrayal that led a child to this destiny. Such a good job, and such wonderful writing. I couldn't put it down." (C. Grieve)