Black River : A Novel by G.M. Ford
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 Hardcover edition.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful:
Buried in Concrete, August 1, 2003
from Warren, MI USA
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. I had gotten used to the humorous antics of the alcoholic bums who made up Waterman's investigatory team. But Corso is a compelling character, and this new series may very well be closer to what Ford really wanted to accomplish. In any case, I think you will find Black River great entertainment.