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Black River: A Novel Mass Market Paperback – Jun 5 2003


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Avon; Reprint edition (June 5 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380816210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380816217
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 2.7 x 17.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #610,960 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Amazon

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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Customer Reviews

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Format: Mass Market Paperback
One of the pleasures of reading Ford's books is the sheer strength of his writing. This is true whether he is being deadly serious or wryly humorous, as he was in his previous series. While he is a 'no frills' writer, he accomplishes his goal by having an unerring sense of the proper word or construct.
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.
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By Kevin Tipple on July 23 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While better known for his Leo Waterman series, G. M. Ford has begun an interesting new series featuring the reclusive Frank Corso. First seen in Fury, Frank Corso is back and as dark as ever. Since this novel picks up approximately seven months after events depicted in Fury and refers to those events repeatedly throughout this novel, I would strongly urge prospective readers to read Fury first before reading this novel. It simply isn't possible to review this novel without giving away a few details, which would be better covered in their entirety in Fury. Having said that, I am simplifying greatly the plot and storyline to keep out as much as possible for those unfamiliar with the previous novel.
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.
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Format: Hardcover
The protagonist in G.M. Ford�s Seattle based �Black River� is Frank Corso, a hard boiled, paradoxical true crime writer. He has a strong sense of right and wrong in the Sam Spade manner.
In �Black River� 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 that�s 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.
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By Nancy L. Mehl on Sept. 12 2002
Format: Hardcover
Frank Corso, a true crime writer in Seattle, is following the case of Nicholas Balagula, a mobster who finally cut one corner too many. A hospital in California has collapsed, killing 63 people, 41 of them children. Balagula's sticky fingerprints are all over the tragedy, and Corso wants to see justice finally visited on this "Teflon Don." But the paths that lead back to Balagula are many - and unraveling them will take all the talent and courage Corso has. What does truck found with a body that is riddled with bullets from three different guns have to do with a vicious attack on a former girlfriend, Meg Doughtery, that leaves her life hanging by a thread? And how do the bodies of two previous witnesses against Balagula that were found floating in the river connect to the disappearance of a man Meg had gone to interview before her car was forced into a devastating accident? What picture are all these seemingly unconnected pieces forming? Are they actually connected? And, can Corso find the truth before the mobster walks away from all the voices of pain and death that cry out for justice?
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.
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