This is an intriguing debut novel, set in a prison. Written as a thriller, it is slightly uneven and, at times, implausible. Still, it grips the reader's imagination with its savage, relentless violence and raw and gritty language. It is definitely not for the squeamish, as there is a good deal of carnage and foul language interspersed throughout the book. It is, most certainly, an acquired taste. If you enjoy the acclaimed HBO television series, "Oz", you will probably enjoy this book.
The drama takes place in a Texas prison called Green River State Penitentiary. The atmosphere is tense, and the prisoners are grouped along racially divided lines. The prison is run by Warden Hobbes, an intelligent, erudite man, who is not wrapped too tight. He sets the stage for a prison uprising that is bloody and violent. There are a few good guys, and a lot of bad guys in this prison. One of the good guys is Ray Klein, a medical doctor who was sent to prison for a rape that he did not commit.
Ray works in the prison infirmary while doing his time, and while there, he has made the acquaintance of a visiting doctor, Juliette Devlin. There is a very strong attraction between the two, and it is safe to say that they are falling in love. Unaware of the looming uprising, Ray learns that he is to be paroled the next day. Suddenly, that news is eclipsed, when all hell breaks loose in the prison. The uprising has been started by a sociopathic prisoner, aided by a host of seriously deranged individuals, who are in prison for crimes they actually committed.
Unfortunately, Dr. Devlin finds herself stuck in the prison infirmary during the uprising. Her presence becomes known, and she becomes the object of lust for a number of prisoners, most of whom have lacked female companionship for an extended period of time. She locks herself in the infirmary, hoping to keep out the sex starved hordes of prisoners, who are eager to party with her, should they be successful in gaining entry to the infirmary. Ray hears of this and is off to the rescue, no longer content to sit out the riot in his cell, waiting for his parole day to arrive. The problem is that the author opts for self indulgence at this point and gives in to his own male fantasy. He has Dr. Devlin voluntarily have sex with two prisoners, while wild hordes of others are battering down the infirmary door in hopes of making her their girl toy. This is highly implausible and makes the book go on somewhat of a downward spiral. Nonetheless, this is still a solid debut novel.