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The Frank Corso Series

By G. M. Ford

Avon, July, 2006 ($7.99)
ISBN: 0-06-055484-3

Reviewed by Cherie Jung

A bookstore owner friend of mine has been telling me for years that I should read G. M. Ford. Did I listen to her? No. Should I have listened to her? Yes. She's always right. So I tried a G. M. Ford book (this one) and now I'm hooked on another author. Luckily my friend has all of his books in stock so with a quick telephone call, I can have them in the post and on their way to me by Monday morning.

When I hear of a prison built to hold "the worst of the worst," I think of Alcatraz, in San Francisco Bay. But that's "old school." Arizona's Meza Azul is a modern day wonder, designed with every technological advance currently at our disposal. No one should be able to breach the system, yet, as you might have guessed, someone has breached the security system and is now holding guards and workers as hostages. Timothy Driver is a former Navy sub commander, now inmate at Meza Azul. He killed his wife and his wife's sex partner when he returned home unexpectedly and discovered them "at it." He is now threatening to execute a hostage every six hours unless his demands are met. What does he want? He wants the guy who wrote a book about his crimes to be brought to the prison for a chat. That would be Frank Corso.

Without giving anything away that you can't read on the back cover of the book jacket, Driver's got a few surprises in store for the reluctant Corso. Among them is being taken on a cross-country killing spree after an ingenious escape from this maximum security prison.

Some readers may find the violence too upsetting. Others may feel there's simply too much of it. Be forewarned, this is a thriller, a page-turner, and a roller coaster of a read. If you don't like roller coasters, so to speak, then give this book a pass. On the other hand, if you like your thrillers fast and furious, this may be just what you're looking for.

Since this is my first book by this author, I can't speak to how well, or how poorly the character has developed from previous books in the series. I can say that as a thriller, the story and characters worked for me, with a few misgivings. One, Melanie Harris, the female TV journalist is so similar in character and background as to be nearly indistinguishable from John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted" television program fame. Either use Mr. Walsh (with his permission, of course) or devise a more unique persona for Ms. Harris. Two, do we really turn over the control of Trident Nuclear submarines to men who go into a homicidal rage at the sight of a cheating wife, albeit, one who is in the process of "cheating" when she is discovered by her husband, the Captain of the previously mentioned Trident sub? And three, how does a crime of passion get one admitted or committed, as the case may be, to the most secure prison ever built in the United States?

Those quibbles aside, I did enjoy the crisp writing style of the author and his dark sense of humor. I will certainly read more from this series, as well as try out the author's other series.

Titles by this author in the Frank Corso series include: FURY, BLACK RIVER, A BLIND EYE, RED TIDE, NO MAN'S LAND, and soon to be released in hardcover, BLOWN AWAY. In the Leo Waterman series titles include: WHO IN HELL IS WANDA FUCA?, CAST IN STONE, THE BUM'S RUSH, SLOW BURN, LAST DITCH, and THE DEADER THE BETTER.

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