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Inside, by Brenda Novak


From the Publisher:  Release Date June 21st 2011

Virgil Skinner served fourteen 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 do it in exchange for his sister’s protection.

Assistant deputy warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she’s 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

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This book captivated me from the very start. My first Brenda Novak novel, and if all her other books are as good as this one, I will be starting her back list right away!

I haven’t read a prison novel quite like this one before. Our hero, Virgil spent 14 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. After his exoneration, he is “recruited” for an inside job as an informant on gang issues at Pelican Bay given his extensive background in prison and a member of “The Crew”.

Peyton, our heroine is a Chief Deputy Warden at Pelican Bay Prison. I liked her, but something about her irked me. She felt almost too idealistic, but I admired her will to change things inside prisons.

What I liked about this book, were the flaws of the characters. The tortured hero and his survivalist attitude, his reservations about any affection shown to him, his gruff and secretive manner. Always looking over his shoulder and trying to decipher ulterior motives in everyone around him.

If you are a lover of novels featuring hero’s who walk the line, and are tortured and flawed, then you will enjoy this novel.

The ending/climax was pretty surprising as well. I hope we see more of a certain “Crew” member in the second book!

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