Friday, July 01, 2011

A Perfect 10: INSIDE by Brenda Novak

INSIDE – Brenda Novak
Book 1 of the Bulletproof SeriesPerfect 10
MIRA
ISBN: 978-0-7783-2993-0
July 2011
Romantic Suspense

Crescent City, California – Present Day

Peyton Adams is the Chief Deputy Warden at Pelican Bay, a super maximum prison in Northern California that houses over 3300 inmates. They are having trouble with the gangs inside and outside the prison walls. She, along with the warden and several others, are debating whether they should send in security contractor, Simeon Bennett, to pretend to be an inmate to see what information he can glean about the murder of a judge. Peyton is concerned that she won’t be able to protect him from the violence of the Hell’s Fury gang, but she is outvoted for the top secret operation: INSIDE. The warden puts Peyton in charge. Simeon Bennett will go into the prison in three days. Wanting to find out more about Simeon, Peyton calls the security contractor in Los Angeles. They claim no one with that name works for them. She decides to search his motel room to find out what is going on and who he really is.

Virgil Skinner has no choice but to go along with infiltrating Pelican Bay so that his sister, Laurel, will be protected by the U.S. Marshals. They have promised a new life for him, his sister and her children. He knows what being inside is like. He spent fourteen years in prison for murder—one that he did not commit. He also knows how the system works—the only way he survived was being part of a gang. But now the gang is after him, afraid he will talk, and if they can’t find him, they will go after his sister.

A man with a gun comes looking for “Skin” and threatens Laurel and her children. She has not heard from her brother, and the police are not helping. She is very worried and frightened.

Peyton goes through pictures of some of the inmates. She takes Virgil to her home to familiarize him with the gang members, particularly the leaders. She is very concerned about his safety. Pelican Bay is the worst of the worst in prisons. She can’t help but feel attracted to the handsome man whom she senses is basically a good person.

INSIDE is a fascinating and chilling tale. All the men in prison are living with violence, having to fight to protect themselves or suffer consequences. Even though Virgil can handle himself, it would be very worrisome to know that an innocent man is inside to get information. His life is on the line. You will sometimes wonder who the bad guys are—the prison workers or the inmates! INSIDE is a gritty book about some of the brutal men who will commit murder to get what they want, and a man who will do anything to protect the only family he has. It is a romantic story, well written, with a lot of tension, and moves along at an excellent pace. The dialogue is realistic, and it has everything romance readers want—romantic tension, a great hero and heroine, and a terrific story.

Ms. Novak really knows how to write an excellent romantic suspense, and this is one you won’t want to miss. It is a Perfect 10. I couldn’t put it down.

Marilyn Heyman

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