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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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... Read morePublished on Aug. 1 2003 by Marc Ruby™
While better known for his Leo Waterman series, G. M. Ford has begun an interesting new series featuring the reclusive Frank Corso. Read morePublished on July 23 2003 by Kevin Tipple
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
Frank Corso, a true crime writer in Seattle, is following the case of Nicholas Balagula, a mobster who finally cut one corner too many. Read morePublished on Sept. 12 2002 by Nancy L. Mehl
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