Paperback, 440 pages
Published June 28th 2011
My Rating: ❀❀❀❀
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Virgil Skinner served 14 years for a murder he didn’t commit. He’s finally been exonerated, but he can’t escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They’ll do anything to keep him from telling what he knows. And if they can’t get to Virgil, they’ll go after his sister and her kids.
The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang, one that’s taking control of the state’s most notorious supermax. Virgil’s the perfect candidate, and he’ll agree to do it under an alias - in exchange for his sister’s protection.
Chief Deputy Warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she’s far too attracted to him; she might even be falling in love with him. That makes her all the more desperate to keep him safe - and it gives him someone else to lose.
This book sounded promising, and I did enjoy how well plotted it was. But I'm honest enough to say that I thought the book dragged in places. I loved the premise and was expecting a gripping read, but it seemed to me that Virgil spent very little time on the inside, and I wanted to see more of that. With that said, we have a stellar cast of chilling characters, contemptible and some very compelling characters as well.
Compelling: Virgil. I have to say, he's not what I expected. I was expecting to be a little more hardened. He can hold his own in prison, and he's not exactly above board in some ways, but I wasn't expecting the vulnerability I saw. That made him compelling in my eyes, and I enjoyed reading about him and his experiences, especially those with Peyton. I wasn't as sure what made Peyton tick, and it took me a good part of the book to really start to like her, but she was equally compelling because there was clearly layers to her character that went deeper than meets the eye.
Chilling: Ink. Just thinking of that character gives me the creeps. It saddens me that there are individuals in this world who are just like him. I'd like to think anyone can be redeemed, but honestly, sometimes I can't make myself that, and a character like Ink really highlights that. Hat off to Ms. Novak for bringing him to life so chillingly.
Contemptible: Wallace. What an ass. Beginning to end. He was a delusional, selfish, self serving ass. I can't even say more about him. Worse than Ink in many ways. He ought to have known better. Probably someone like Ink never had a chance, but for Wallace to make the choices he did...they ought people like that away too. John was another character I thought equally contemptible, for different reasons.
So overall? This was a great read. I had some issues with how it was plotted--it simply didn't unravel the way I thought it would, but it was honestly a brilliantly executed plot with a happy ending.