Black River: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Jun 5 2003
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Mobster Nicholas Balagula cut so many corners when he built a new children's hospital that 63 people died when it collapsed. Now he's up on murder charges, and Seattle true-crime writer Frank Corso, who watched Balagula's first two trials end disastrously when witnesses disappeared and jurors were bought off, is back in court for the third one, which looks like a slam dunk for the prosecution. Then Frank's former girlfriend, photojournalist Meg Dougherty, is brutally attacked after stumbling on a connection between a story she's following and the one Frank's hoping to turn into another bestseller. Corso, making his second appearance here (after Fury), is a quirky, engaging protagonist who grows on the reader, much like Leo Waterman, the laid-back hero of G.M. Ford's other series. Ford is a deft stylist whose characters are usually more interesting and less predictable than his plots; maybe he'll give Corso more to work with next time around. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
After six books about Leo Waterman, a Seattle PI with an eccentric fondness for drunks and deadbeats, Ford created in Fury (2001) a very different kind of antihero-Frank Corso, an ace investigative journalist fired by the New York Times for fabricating a story. Fury was well received, but Corso himself often seemed a work in progress. This second time out, Corso lives, breathes and walks on his own solid legs through the Seattle streets Ford knows so well. He's making big bucks writing true crime books, living on board his boat berthed on Lake Union with a terrific view of the skyline (the description of Bill Gates's Mercer Island mega-mansion as seen from the water is dead on: "At first it looked like a park. Then maybe a trendy waterfront shopping center. Very Northwest. Lots of environmentally conscious exposed rock and wood"). Corso is the only journalist allowed to cover the federal trial of a nasty Russian hoodlum accused of causing the collapse of a Los Angeles hospital; his Fury lady friend-photographer Meg Dougherty, whose body was covered in hideous tattoos by a berserk former lover-winds up in the hospital after stumbling on two of the Russian's hired killers. Those killers, a pair of convincingly scary Cubans; a touchingly fallible female federal prosecutor with a slight drinking problem; a Cambodian apartment manager; a young medical student trying to understand his missing father-are all made so real so quickly that you might miss the considerable artistry involved. Welcome back, Mr. Corso-and Mr. Ford.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
In this story, the sequel to Fury, we again meet up with Frank Corso, a journalist who lost his cachet when he wrote a story based on falsified evidence. Since that time he has moved to Seattle where his determination has found him a new job and let him reestablish himself as a newsman and a writer. He has been allowed to sit in on the trial of Nicholas Balagula, a ruthless crime boss who has never been brought to justice. But when photojournalist Meg Dougherty, Corso's closest friend is suddenly attacked and very nearly killed a different kind of trial emerges, with Corso sitting in the judge's seat.
A tangled web of loose connections sends Corso down the dark side of the city, tracking down hired killers, builders, and janitors to find what Meg saw that put her in a hospital. Corso isn't a genius, but a determined seeker who can eventually work his was through the toughest knot. Although this time what he doesn't know very nearly kills him.
As always, Ford's characters a gem-like. While the bad guys are 'bad,' the good guys aren't angels, and individual idiosyncrasies bring them all to life. The main characters do develop, but slowly. It has taken Corso two novels to move from his initial bitterness to a dark cynicism. For all that Meg is unconscious for most of the book, she has changed the most, which brings out the best and the worst of Corso's character.
Like a typical shallow fan, I wasn't all that comfortable when Ford switched from Leo Waterman.Read more ›
For years, the government has chased the Russian mobster Nicholas Balagula through one trial after another with no success. Balagula sees United States justice as a game-a game where he has always won by jury tampering, violent intimidation and the murder of witnesses. Now, he is on trial once again. This time, he is being tried for the deaths of 63 people who lost their lives in a hospital building collapse. The trail has been moved from California up to Seattle and extraordinary measures are being taken to protect the safety and integrity of the jury and the case.
Frank Corso is the only non-participant allowed to attend the murder trial of Balagula. His well-publicized notoriety and connections gets him unlimited access and he hopes to turn the project into another one of his true crime books. While he wants another success on his hands, he also wants the government to win. At the same time, with a grandstanding golden boy of the United States Attorney's Office in charge, Warren Klein, he has his doubts whether they can do the job.Read more ›
In ï¿½Black Riverï¿½ the government is trying for the third time to nail known criminal and pedophile Nicholas Belagula for bribery. Witnesses and inspectors keep turning up dead.
After Corso connects seemingly unrelated events (murders) including one that strikes close to home---everything circumstantially points to Belagula.
Corso unearths a paper trail that verifies the connection. Turning an insider is all thatï¿½s needed to convict Belagula.
G.M. Ford, an excellent storyteller, gives you a nonstop, rapidly moving plot with well-developed characters. Once I got all the players clearly identified, it was impossible to put the book down.
A couple of the bad guys are Elmore Leonardish, and the primary villains are absolutely loathsome.
The appearance of the US Attorney General was a bit much and the ending too neat and tidy---but the ride to the conclusion was thrilling. Do not miss this one.
Frank Corso sees himself as a flawed human being. He is flawed more than some - but much more human than many. He is likable without wanting you to like him - and appealing without trying to appeal to anyone except himself and his own conscience.
BLACK RIVER is an edge-of-your seat thriller. The action never stops, and the plot moves quickly, pulling you along with it. This is a hard-boiled detective mystery with a heart. Frank Corso is someone I will have to visit again. I cared about this case and I cared about Corso.
I highly recommend BLACK RIVER.
Most recent customer reviews
If you are looking for a writer who churns out well-crafted mystery novels with believable characters, G. M. Ford is one of the best. Read morePublished on March 27 2003 by Kevin Ladd
If you enjoy the work of Philip Margolin, John Sandford,John Connolly or Michael Connelly, you'll love G.M. Ford's Frank Corso series. Read morePublished on Feb. 27 2003 by Nancy Sapir
The nefarious business practices of crime boss Nicholas Balagula: fraud, extortion, and falsified bids, caused the death of 63 people including 41 children when a minor seismic... Read morePublished on Aug. 16 2002
Frank Corsi, reclusive investigative reporter, is the only spectator permitted in the trial of a West Coast crime boss (an unwelcome import from the Russian Mafia) who bribery and... Read morePublished on Aug. 13 2002 by Margaret F. Baker
I read a lot of books. I wish there were more writers like G. M. Ford, who take real people and put them into ambiguous situations and let them struggle with the consequences of... Read morePublished on Aug. 4 2002 by Terry Mathews
As a visual artist, I know about the frustration when your fans don't want you to change...but.
I just couldn't get into the amoral guy pictured here. Read more
I have read all of Ford's books and liked them, without exception. Fury was a wonderful introduction to a new series. Read morePublished on July 27 2002 by Charlotte Vale-Allen