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Black, Sean - 'Deadlock'
Hardback: 352 pages (July 2010) Publisher: Bantam Press ISBN: 0593063392

One prisoner, one bodyguard, and one week to stay alive, apparently, is the basis for this book, set in the US. The prisoner is someone called Reaper, a member of the 'Aryan brotherhood' a prison-based, white-supremacist, violent group. He claims to have important information on the killing of an undercover ATF agent called Ken Prager, by members of the group on the outside. He offers to testify, naming the leaders of the group, and who ordered the murder, in return for being moved from solitary to mainline prison. While this could be a genuine offer, there is also the threat to Reaper's safety in mainline prison, and the possibility that he is using the chance to testify as an opportunity to escape. The assistant US attorney Jalicia Jones, who agrees that Reaper can testify, organises for Ryan Lock, and his partner Ty Johnson to go inside the prison and keep an eye on Reaper, both in the prison and when he goes to testify. Ryan Lock is an ex-army (special forces) guy, who now works as a security consultant to anyone who pays well. But he also has a personal connection to the case, as he knew Ken Prager from his days in the military. Ryan and Ty become inmates at the prison, and Ryan becomes Reaper's new cell-mate. Ty is black, and becomes involved in inter-racial tensions at the prison. He ends up being attacked and badly hurt, ending up in hospital, and Ryan is left on his own to accompany Reaper to the court hearing.

It's no surprise to find out that on his way to the court hearing, there is an attempt to free Reaper, which Ryan foils. A woman called Chance leads the attempt, and she turns out to have a personal link to Reaper. Then, another attempt is made at the courthouse, this time successfully, despite Ryan's best efforts. Then it's up to Ryan to find out what Reaper is up to. What are his plans, why was he so intent on escaping, and can Ryan find him and stop him?

This is a pretty straightforward thriller, and better plotted than Sean Black's first book, LOCKDOWN. There are quite a few twists and turns, and a few surprises that keep the book moving forward. There is a lot of action, and not too much 'detective' work, and there is a fair amount of violence. Ryan is still a pretty much two-dimensional character though, with the single purpose of stopping the bad guys from achieving their evil intentions. This is a fast action thriller, and for those who like this sort of thing, quite a good one.

Read another review of DEADLOCK.

Michelle Peckham, England
August 2010

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 22/08/2011 16:26