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

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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99 by Wayne Gretzky 99 by Wayne Gretzky

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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: 17.6 x 10.3 x 2.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 113 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,415,781 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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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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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
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 disturbance collapsed the wall of the Fairmont Hospital. Possible jury tampering, intimidation, and the fortuitous deaths of witnesses have kept Balagula from spending the rest of his notoriously immoral life in prison. But federal prosecutors may have a turned a witness, someone who can testify to Balagula's direct involvement in the disaster. Granted status as the only nonparticipant allowed at the trial, Frank Corso, reclusive author of popular true-crime novels is forced back into the public eye amid media speculation that he is consulting for the prosecution. Then Corso's insulated life is thrown into chaos when his ex-lover Meg Dougherty, while pursuing an investigation of her own, is involved in a car accident that leaves her battered and bloody body hanging to life by a thread. Pursuing justice for his one, best friend while following the course of the trial Corso is pulled into the muck of a black river of deceit, corruption, and murder.
Ford's latest bad guy isn't as reprehensible as Corso's previous foe, the Trashman, but perhaps he just seems less disgusting because we're exposed to reports of unethical business practices in the news so often. Hospitals and homes are lined up along the San Andreas Fault as we read. Balagula's method to find the members of an anonymous, sequestered jury would make a market researcher proud. And even the most competent of employees will have bad days: finding the guy you're to hit already dead, buried bodies floating to the river's surface, taking out the wrong people. I almost felt sorry for these two killers.
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Format: Hardcover
I have read all of Ford's books and liked them, without exception. Fury was a wonderful introduction to a new series. In this second outing featuring Frank Corso, the writing is as tight and lean as ever; the characters are well-developed, and there are plot nuances that elevate this to an above-average book.
There are a number of issues that come into play, both primariy and secondary, but not all of them are equally addressed. The ones that are introduced but not adequately addressed have to do with the behavior of some of the secondary characters--in particular, the drinking of prosecutor Renee Rogers. This woman consumes so much booze in the course of the book that Corso's failure even to consider her possible alcoholism is notable, because most definitely the reader cannot help but be aware of it and wonder. The other issue deals with the matter of using children for sexual purposes. In this instance, the author as narrator makes no serious statement on the matter beyond the unvoiced disgust of one of the villains who subsequently makes minced-meat out of the vendor of the child's services. This, too, I found somewhat troubling. It's one thing to introduce this sort of thing in order to indicate just how foul the ultimate bad guy is; but the way it's handled is less than satisfying because this other villain, when given the opportunity, never expresses his personal repugnance. One is left to assume what could and should have been stated--if only to lend additional dimension to the character of Ivanov.
That said, Corso is an intriguing man with some laudable sentiments about celebrity, among other things. And there is great pacing to the narrative, as well as some nicely convoluted plotting. I will very definitely be waiting with anticipation for the next Corso adventure.
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Format: Hardcover
Though a very tiny earthquake occurred along the San Andreas fault that hardly registered on the Richter scale, the damage to the newly built Fairmont Hospital left sixty-three people dead, forty of them children. It was discovered that the building was not built to specifications because the builders skimped on earthquake prevention fortifications by bribing building officials and inspectors to sign off that it met the code.

The prosecution says that known criminal Nicholas Balagula was the mastermind behind the tragedy that led to the calamity. The Feds brought him to trial twice and failed to get a conviction. Now they are trying again and true crime writer Frank Corso is the only journalist allowed to witness the proceedings. Corso wants to see justice served but the case abruptly becomes personal when his ex-girlfriend is almost killed by two goons in the pay of Balagula.

G.M. Ford is an excellent writer who tells quite a story. His enigmatic protagonist is a likable chap content with being alone. Still he strives to do the right thing for the only person who means anything to him while not expecting any payment or even a return favor. The interesting plot is filled with unexpected yet reasonable twists and turns that compels the audience to drive this vehicle in a one sitting pleasurable ride.

Harriet Klausner
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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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