Saturday, February 9, 2013

Brenda Novak -- Inside

Brenda Novak -- Inside

Rated: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ . ♥   {4.95}
Action: ♠♠♠ / Emotion: ♣♣♣♣♣ / Romance: ♥♥♥♥ / Sensuous: ♦♦ / Suspense: ♠♠♠♠♠
Action: 3 / Emotion: 5 / Romance: 4 / Sensuous: 2 / Suspense: 5  //  Laughter: 0 / Teary: 1

Setting:   Crystal City, California // Pelican Bay Prison, California
Era:       Present Day [2011]
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Some books just reach deep into your heart and grab hold of your senses and will not let go.   Inside, the first book in The Bulletproof Trilogy, by Brenda Novak is one of those books.   Loved Loved Loved this book!   So many things were right about this book.   The unique story line.   The strong emotional pull.   The insight into the psyche of the characters.   The amazingly incredible build up of so much nail-biting suspense.   The unbelievable, undeniable romance.   This book is an un-put-down-able read . . . and worth every minute of it.   (Even loved the dedication page and the note to the reader in the beginning of the book.)

Chief Deputy Warden Peyton Adams is the ultimately perfect heroine.   Besides being beautiful and having a perfect body (without having to go to the gym to exercise like the rest of us mortals), she has a code of honor to which we should all aspire and a sense of compassion close to that of Mother Theresa.   Not only that, but Peyton is intelligent, strong-willed, willing to fight for what is right, and strives to make a difference in a world that is filled with the "worst of the worst" -- the world of the most notorious prison in America, that of Pelican Bay in Northern California.

Novak obviously did a phenomenal amount of research to write such descriptive and revealing scenes about the intricate workings of the life inside a maximum security prison.   As she drew readers deep into the lives of her characters, she managed to include interesting details about this prison and it's inhabitants.   She did such a phenomenal job of describing the prison and began to develop the contrasting personalities of the inmates and staff that she made the reader feel like they were there.   She even included definitions to the terms that the inmates and officers used on a daily basis.

A perfect heroine needed a perfect hero.   Virgil Skinner is a very original hero -- a man that Peyton could never have imagined being attracted to -- a convict -- or rather, an ex-convict.   In spite of being the handsome, hunky, hero that is a requirement in romance novels, Virgil is also a man with a past of such desperation and angst that it seems impossible for him to come out a man with heroic qualities.   In spite of being a hardened convict, a member of a gang (The Crew), and having killed two men while incarcerated, it is obvious that Virgil had his own special code of honor and was more honest that some of the very men who guarded him.

Virgil's story was not pretty.   At the tender age of eighteen, he was wrongly sentenced to life in prison for killing his abusive stepfather.   It was easy to understand his bitterness and anger at such an atrocity, but what increased his rage was the fact that his own mother and uncle were responsible for his incarceration.   After fighting to survive for fourteen years in a place that no young man should grow to manhood, Virgil is exonerated.   When Geraldine Lawson came forward with information about her ex-husband, Virgil's uncle, Gary Lawson, Innocent America re-opened Virgil's case.   Gary Lawson was charged with Martin Crawley's murder and Virgil was released from ADX Florence.   It was disappointing that Virgil's mother, Ellen Lawson Crawley, was not prosecuted as well.

The first chapter is filled with so much detail about the characters that are featured in this book, that you almost need a cheat sheet to keep everything straight.   But by the time you get to the end of the chapter, Novak has generated so much interest in the story and what is going to happen next that you cannot stop turning the pages in avid interest.

Virgil is introduced to Peyton as Simeon Bennett, a member of Department 6, who is willing to be incarcerated in Pelican Bay to infiltrate the gang called Hells Fury.   His mission is to find out who is responsible for the murder of Judge Garcia and to try and find out how the gang is communicating with their outside factions.   Peyton strongly opposes the idea of placing a man, any man, in such a deadly situation, and stands alone in a room full of five other men who all want Operation Inside to be implemented.

The man most determined to implement the plan is Rick Wallace, the associate director of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.   Rick dressed in expensive tailored suits, thought himself better than others, and was determined to one day be the director of CDCR.   Operation Inside was to be his stepping stone.   Rick was so self-absorbed that he couldn't see past his own interests to consider Virgil as a man walking into a potential death trap.   Novak so richly developed Rick's character and gave him a point of view voice, as she began to build the intricate web of her story, that it was impossible not to contrast this arrogant, supposedly law-abiding man, who had it all, to the strength of character that Virgil, the murdering gang member possessed.   Like Peyton, one could not help but admire Virgil more than Rick.

Officer Frank Rosenburg, the Senior Investigator of Pelican Bay's four-member police force attended the meeting and was the only man who saw the fallacies to Operation Inside, but had no option but to bow to the command of his senior officers attending the meeting.   Frank did not appear quite as often as other characters, but when he did appear on the pages of the book, he came across as an honest man who was trying to do his job against incredible statistics.

A character that faded into the background shortly after he was introduced was associate warden, Joseph Perry.   During the introductory meeting, when Joseph was asked his opinion on whether Virgil should be allowed to infiltrate Hells Fury, he was a prime example of what many such officials of the prison system supported.   Joseph, basically, had no opinion one way or the other.   If his boss wanted to do this, then let's do this.

Peyton's boss, Warden Fischer, was the man who finally silenced Peyton's arguments against Operation Inside.   Peyton had been disagreeing with iron-fisted Warden Fischer ever since she arrived at Pelican Bay six months ago.   Although Peyton wanted to treat the inmates as human beings and try to offer methods of rehabilitation instead of brutal punishment, Warden Fischer was diametrically opposed to her reasoning.   After vetoing her objections and supporting Rick's plan, Warden Fischer then pulled Peyton aside and dropped the whole ugly ball in her lap, putting her in charge of Virgil and being the liaison to Rick.   Warden Fischer was determined that should the plan blow up in his face, Peyton would take the blame.   Although Warden Fischer appeared periodically throughout the book, he was mostly a slightly-developed character that supported the movement of the other members of the cast on the chess board.

The final man that opposed Peyton was none other than Virgil himself.   Virgil's compassionate nature was revealed.   Virgil was determined to go through with this plan for one reason only -- to save the lives of his sister, Laurel Hodges, and her son, Jake, and daughter, Mia.   Rick had contacted Virgil when he was exonerated and basically blackmailed him into infiltrating the Hells Fury by threatening to prosecute him for murder in the deaths of the men Virgil killed when defending himself.   Virgil was willing to be blackmailed because he needed Rick to make sure that Laurel and her kids were placed into the Witness Protection Program to keep them safe from his prison gang brothers.

Although Virgil had to join The Crew to survive in prison, he did not seem to possess a gang mentality -- he was too strong-willed and individualistic to bow and scrap to the demands of The Crew's leaders.   However, Virgil understood the gang mentality and knew that his brothers would come after him and his family because they believed he would turn on them once he was released.   This aspect of the story provided just another tool for Novak to weave a spell of suspense as she began to paint a realistic picture of what was going on in the minds of the many players participating in this suspensefully intricate game of chess.

Not only did Novak make the gang member Virgil an honorable man, with redeemable qualities that made him worthy of being loved, but she also delved into the psyche of what other members of The Crew were experiencing.   There were several prominent Crew members featured in this story.   Virgil's cell mate and the brother closest to him was Rex "Pretty Boy" McCready.   Novak revealed the conflict that Pretty Boy experienced as he was forced to join his other brothers in their search for a man he respected beyond all others.   Not only did Pretty Boy not want to kill Virgil, but he was half in love with Laurel, since Virgil shared all her letters with him.   Pretty Boy's conflict was more intense because he hated one of The Crew members that was a part of the team hunting Laurel and her kids.   Pretty Boy may have initially come across as just a minor character in this story, but in the end, he became a bright, shining hero as well.

The Crew member Pretty Boy hated was a psychopath named Ink, known for his legendary cruelty.   Ink was portrayed with the kind of personality and body full of tattoos that most attribute to a member of a vicious gang.   Ink played a major role in the story as he caused readers to cower in fear almost as much as Laurel that such a cold-blooded, soulless man was avidly pursing a women and her children to kill them simply because she was loved by her brother.

Pointblank Thompson, the third Crew member traveling with Pretty Boy and Ink showed readers that there was a middle ground between the brutal psychopath, Ink, and Pretty Boy, the member who still possessed a conscience.   Pointblank is probably an example of what gang life is all about.   He obeyed orders simply to have someone or something to belong to and gave up his sense of regret or conscience somewhere along the way.

The Crew chief calling the shots was Shady.   It was interesting that Novak gave Shady a point of view voice in the story to reveal that even though he was a cold-blooded killer who sold drugs, there were reasons for his intense hatred of "Skin."   Shady was portrayed as a leader who was jealous of Virgil's independence and his ability to inspire respect and admiration even though he wasn't a high-ranking member of The Crew.   And then she revealed that Shady's hatred was based on his own special brand of admiration because Virgil managed to fight being violated during his incarceration, even through he was imprisoned at a younger age than Shady.

The interpersonal dynamics that Novak created between all these characters was so well-written and so well-developed that they all felt real.   These characters could walk from the pages of the book they were so believable.

This book is so powerfully intense.   Novak was phenomenal as she kept the reader so deeply involved in the emotional relationship growing between Virgil and Peyton while at the same time slowly building the suspense level to such proportions that it was literally impossible to sit still and keep reading.   Novak has marvelously moved the characters around on her chess board with such well-written dialogue and inspiring such a richly stirring connection to them that it is impossible to imagine how she is going to say "checkmate" at the end of the book and save Virgil from death for the requisite happily ever after ending.

The suspense was not the only aspect of the story in which Novak excelled.   The romance in the story was just as potent.   The attraction between Virgil and Peyton is undeniable in spite of all the impediments making a relationship hopeless.   Virgil recognizes his unworthiness for such a woman as Peyton.   Novak wrote some of the most intuitive and incredibly empathetic thoughts regarding Virgil's feelings of unworthiness and desire.

Peyton's feelings toward Virgil were just an strong.   She was a woman driven to make a difference in a world that did not favor her gender.   She had spent her entire life pursing a career to make a difference in the lives of inmates because she lost her father, a good man, to a shank after he was imprisoned for embezzlement.   And she was about to lose all of that because she could not fight the attraction she felt for Virgil, a man she was supposed to be keeping safe.   Again, the thoughts Peyton experienced as she tried to come to grips with her heartfelt attraction to Virgil were amazing feats of prose.   Novak wrote so many dynamic passages that it was impossible not to identify with both Virgil and Peyton and pray they could find a way be together forever.
Their eyes met again and she saw what she hadn't been able to see before -- vulnerability, maybe even confusion, beneath a shield of male pride.   (Peyton, page 86)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
He wondered what she'd think if she knew it was just the opposite.   She tore him up inside, made him feel, too much.   The sudden influx of everything he'd been missing had knocked him off balance, and because he hadn't adjusted to the real word yet, his behavior was out of whack.   (Virgil, page 237)
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
"Why?" he asked, those blue eyes of his as piercing as ever.   "Why me?"

He couldn't trust anything, couldn't accept even positive attention without examining it for danger.   He'd been forced to defend himself for so long he didn't know how to stop.   He reminded Peyton of a wounded animal that both wanted attention and snarled at anyone who tried to provide it.

Cupping his cheek, she ran her thumb over his bottom lip.   "Because you're so much more than you know."
. . .
"And you don't have to convince me of your potential.   I believe in you already."   (page 361)
Because of the nature of the story and the length of time involved, it was impossible for Novak to write sizzling, spicy, heated lovemaking scenes between Virgil and Peyton.   But the scenes she did write fit perfectly into the story and were full of passion, sensuality and emotion and added to the relationship growing between them.

Two other important characters were given point of view voices in this story.   The first, Virgil's sister, Laurel, was instrumental in getting him exonerated.   It was difficult to get a handle on Laurel's personality because she was in a constant state of fear and crisis as she fled from The Crew members searching for her.   Here's hoping that Novak can make her as memorable a character in her book, the second book of the series (In Seconds), as Virgil and Peyton.

The second secondary character that played an important role in the story was a corrections officer ("C.O.") at Pelican Bay, who showed a marked interest in Peyton, Sergeant John Hutchinson.   Novak used John's presence to not only build the suspense factor of the story, but to also contrast this guard of convicts to Virgil.   Again, Virgil presented himself as a better man than the one paid to keep him in line.

There were two "too stupid to live" reasons for not giving this book a perfect 5.0 rating.   First, was Virgil's moment of stupidity.   When Virgil is shanked in a fight, he is taken to the infirmary for treatment.   What was roaming through the mind of this big, bad, macho hero, who apparently felt he must finish his assignment as quickly as possible?   He has twenty-six stitches and he chooses to go back to his cell (to prove he's a badass) instead of staying at the infirmary to heal.   (Which, by the way, resulted in the less than satisfactory result of not being able to go to Peyton's aid when The Crew came calling.)

The second was Peyton's very typically-written moment of stupidity.   Even though she {1} understands the gang mentality (having worked in the corrections system 16 years), {2} knows there is a traitor in their midst (Virgil betrayed to The Crew), and {3} received a warning from Virgil that she was a target now because she revealed her love of him, she goes about her business as usual, thus setting herself up as a target.

What more needs to be said!   Inside, Brenda Novak's first book in The Bulletproof Trilogy, is a must read for Romantic Suspense Fans.   This book is definitely going to be placed on my "to be re-read" list.
--Vonda M. Reid (Friday, February 8, 2013 : 1:35 am)     [299]

Books In The Series: "The Bulletproof Trilogy"
# Date Title Hero Heroine
01.07-2011InsideVirgil Skinner; wrongfully incarceratedPeyton Adams; Chief Deputy Warden
1/806-2012Blood In, Blood Out [1]Rex "Pretty Boy" McCready; ex-conLaurel Hodges, Virgil's sister
02.09-2011In SecondsMyles King; Pineview SheriffLaurel Hodges: aka Vivian Stewart; Virgil's sister
03.11-2011In CloseIsaac Morgan; wildlife photogrpaherClaire O'Toole; Pineview hairdresser
[1]   This very short story is found in the anthology Love Is Murder {edited by Sandra Brown}.

Characters, Locations, Organizations, Slang Terms Found In "Inside"
Character Description
Virgil Skinner[Hero] served 14 years for a murder he didn't commit (bc) alias: Simeon Bennett: ice-blue eyes; employee of Department 6; looked as tough as any inmate; 6'4" (1) 225 pounds; could have been hewn from stone; bulging biceps and pecs; blond hair shaved in precise military haircut; intimidating appearance (8) in criminal justice for 10 years (8) white (12) hands had knicks and cars to suggest more than a few fights; words 'love' and 'hate' tattooed on his knuckles (13) prisoner ID number tattooed on arm; an ex-con; incarcerated 6 years for murder one; belligerent (15) exonerated (16) defensive; dark secrets; contempt; out 10 years; cop before going private; jailed when 18-y-o (17) chip on shoulder; mask on his G.I. Joe face; handsome; convicted of killed his stepfather (18) piercing blue eyes; resentful (19) uncle killed stepfather; mother put him up to it; a younger sister with 2 kids (19) // as Virgil: hadn't always struggle with authority; cliqued up with The Crew to survive corrections officers (32) ADX Florence; prisoner number: 99972-506 (39) out of prison less than a week (43) ambidextrous enough to fight with either hand (44) in 14 years; 32-y-o; incarcerated when 18-y-o (47) physically strong; angry; determined; resentful (48) trading his services for new identity for him and Laurel; a survivalist (49) honors his word (50) keen intelligence; knew the score (51) something decent and worthy in him (57) a less than reliable mother; 4 step-fathers (79) long, jagged scar on forearm (82) would receive $700,000 for false imprisonment (103) lived by his own rules; didn't answer to anyone; independence created difficulties with The Crew (123) understood more than Peyton wanted; looked far deeper, to the hard truth, blanching at nothing; at war with himself (138) beautiful face in raw-boned masculinity; grim reaper tattoo on shoulder; medusa tattoo over heart (147) wore Spanish coin from 1739 around neck (155)
Peyton Adams[Heroine] Chief Deputy Warden (bc) worked in corrections 16 years (1) second in command; at Pelican Bay six months (10) hair always sleekly arranged in tight knot at her nape (13) her philosophy differed from Wardens, causing frequent disagreements (21) had to prove herself every single day (22) idealistic when chose profession; salary: $120,000 (27) blond hair pulled into knot at her nape; wide brown eyes; quickly perceptive; satiny skin; looked to young to hold such position of authority (31) practical, yet stylish suit (32) beautiful; chief deputy warden (32) 36-y-o (47) still felt compassion (65) small, cabin-like home; deck face sea (67) white Volvo SUV (71) worked at Folsom Prison 15 years (78) bright eyes; beautiful face (97) perfect figure (98) basic decency; a certain sensibility that no one else possessed (110)
. . .. . .
Grace Adams[No Appearance] Peyton's mother; lived 25 more years after father imprisoned (30) ovarian cancer; died 29 months ago (78)
[Mr.] Adams[No Appearance] Peyton's father; middle-class home in Citrus Heights, a suburb of Sacramento; when Peyton 4-y-o, went to prison for embezzling the money to pay for mother's cancer treatments; served 5 years; stabbed to death 3 weeks before his release (30)
ADX Florence[Organization] federal penitentiary in a remote, unincorporated part of Fremont County, Colorado (39)
Ace Anderson[One Appearance] Hells Fury gang member; Weston's cell mate; participated in fight with Virgil; swollen hand (307)
Aryan Brotherhood[Organization] most dangerous of all prison gangs; small but ruthless; didn't accept many new members (291)
Tyler Bingham[No Appearance] one of Aryan Brotherhood's most powerful leaders; incarcerated at Pelican Bay (291)
Bruiser[No Appearance] deviant who wanted to make Virgil his bitch (90)
Carrie[No Appearance] Virgil took to homecoming dance; first sexual experience (76)
Ellen Lawson Crawley[No Appearance] Virgil's mother (101)
Martin Crawley[No Appearance] Virgil sent to prison for his murder // Virgil's stepfather; 46-y-o (99)
Crescent City, California[Location] city in which Peyton resided (26) called 'California's Siberia' (31) 400 miles from San Francisco and Sacramento; accessible via narrow, winding roads; dense forest of redwoods on one side; Pacific Ocean on other (31) description (33) populated mostly by corrections officers (33)
Buzz Criven [Secondary Character] due out of Pelican Bay next month (12) considered a Captain in Hells Fury (80) food allergies; irritable bowel syndrom; couldn't gain weight; hollow eyes; restless nature; unpredictable; tattoos covering bald head and part of face; hardened (225) despite gang ties, not much of a behavioral concern (225) teardrop tattoo on cheek; 28-y-o (227) series of devil tattoos sticking their tongues out (288) participated in fight with Virgil; few bruises (307)
Officer Dean[One Appearance] 'wet behind the ears' Pelican Bay C.O.; escorted Virgil to Joseph Perry's office to meet with Peyton (359)
Department 6[Organization] a private security contractor out of L.A. (1)
DeWitt[One Appearance] working the sallyport when Virgil arrived (320) 23-y-o; chubby; baby-faced; HACK (274) eager for opportunity to conquer, to punish; all talk (275)
Victor Durego[No Appearance] inmate in gen pop claiming to be suicidal (26)
Warden Fischer[Secondary Character] Warden of Pelican Bay for 3 years; 61-y-o; in corrections 32 years; worked at Corcoron and San Quentin; personal friend of Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor who appointed him; ruled his prison with iron fist (9) not liked by either staff or inmates; stocky; barrel chest; bowed legas; scratch voice; brought to mind a grizzled hermit; rough edges; confused rehabilitation with punishment (10) yellowed fingernails (11) unattractive habit: pinched his nostrils, pulled and let go (12) sagging jowls (20) heavily lined face (21) sparse white hair (22) lived in Brookings, Oregon (149)
Judge Garcia[No Appearance] murdered (8)
Edward Garraza[No Appearance] Hells Fury member suspected of turning traitor; found in laundry with no toes, fingers, eyes (51)
Gibbs[One Appearance] Pelican Bay C.O.; already heard about new troublemaker's arrival (228)
Eddie Glover[Secondary Character] C.O. at Florence; made world of difference for Virgil (110) 5'11"; 180 pounds; red hair cut short; freckles everywhere (175) worked in prison 10 years (205)
Gunnison[Location] small ranching community where Wallace took Laurel (156)
Hells Fury[Organization] gang; probably responsible for murder of Judge Garcia (11) growing at unprecedented rate, in and out of prison; quickly taking over Pelican Bay and moving into the streets of Northern California (12) modeled their organization after the military (80) hybrid, part racist skinhead, part street gang, part prison gang (81) got started in Texas Prisons in 80s (82) colors: orange and black (83)
Lisa Higgleby[No Appearance] staff attorney for Innocent America (100)
Jake Hodges[Brief Appearances] Laurel's son (60) 5-y-o (40)
Laurel Hodges[Secondary Character] [Book 2] Virgil's sister; entering witness protection (34) beautiful; long blond hair; blue eyes, same color as Virgil's (39) 3-y-o daughter; 5-y-o son (40) janitor at hospital; moved to Florence 11 months ago; husband had been abusive (157) stepfather beat her regularly; ran way when 16; lived on street 2 years (162) looked like brother (327)
Mia Hodges[Brief Appearances] Laurel's daughter (60) 3-y-o (40)
Tom [Hodges][No Appearance] Laurel's ex-husband (40)
Horse[Secondary Character] The Crew member (112) giant of a man; pockmarked face; bulbous nose; shaved head (171) had bulk in spades; mean; not stupid; pimped out whores (171)
Secretary Hinckley[No Appearance] {California politician} supported the plan for Simeon to infiltrate Pelican Bay (8)
Sergeant Hostetler[Brief Appearances] Pelican Bay C.O.; brought Buzz Criven to conference room (221)
Sergeant John Hutchinson[Secondary Character] recently divorce; Pelican Bay C.O.; interested in Peyton; nice; not unhandsome; sandy-colored hair; hazel eyes; lantern jaw (169) reprimanded for using too much force (186) smuggling items, working with Hells Fury (269)
Marguerite [Hutchinson][No Appearance] John's ex-wife (270)
Ink[Secondary Character] The Crew gang member; 27-y-o man; shaved head; small patch of hair on chin; baggy jeans and over-large t-shirt; muscular body; even face tattooed; physical appearance frightening; 5'9"; almost as wide as he was tall; gold tooth; dark, dull, flat, shark's eyes held no sparkle (61) lightning bolts that served as eyebrows (63) bloodthirsty bastard; enjoyed abusing everyone and everything; maimed couple of prostitutes in L.A.; legendary cruelty gave him a degree of power in a group that prided itself on violence; no loyalty; no honor; no soul (124) short; muscular; lots of tattoos (164) psychopath (284)
Innocent America[Organization] organization that responsible for Virgil being exonerated (99)
"Cooley" Jager[One Appearance] 18-y-o; punk; drove old Corvette, radio blasting; tried to be a badass; cocky (267) tall; skinny; long, greasy hair; MMA t-shirt; tight jeans; Vans on feet; gangbanger; looked like skater; usual tats; foot soldier recruited by his brother, Weston Jager (268) met with John (267)
Weston "Westy" Jager[Brief Appearances] high ranking Hells Fury; in gen pop; could have placed hit on Judge Garcia (81) Cooley's older brother (268) fight with Virgil in dining room; busted nose, fat lip, cut on eye (307)
Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park [Location] Rick and Virgil drove through (32)
Jodie[No Appearance] Peyton and Michelle's friend; divorcee; went out together once a week (36)
Jimmy Keegan[One Appearance] U.S. marshal watching over Laurel; married (310)
Kim[No Appearance] Peyton and Michelle's friend; divorcee; went out together once a week (36)
Doug Lachette[One Appearance] Hells Fury gang member; participated in fight with Virgil; busted ribs (307)
Gary Lawson[No Appearance] Virgil's uncle; charged with Martin Crawley's murder; held without bail in L.A. (100)
Geraldine Lawson[No Appearance] ex-wife to Virgil's uncle; came forward with information that got his case re-opened (100)
Lieutenant McCalley[Secondary Character] Investigative Services Unit (220) investigating John Hutchinson for use of excessive force
Rex "Pretty Boy" McCready[Major Secondary Character] The Crew member; gotten name from good looks; Virgil's former cell mate (111) out of prison (112) respected Virgil; Virgil saved his skin many times (122) average height; average build; dark hair and eyes; clover tattoo with AB on the back of his hand (206) Rex (334) decent; just came from shitty family (373)
Don "Meeks" Meecham[Brief Appearances] older member of The Crew; still physically fit; already gray at 45; mostly gone legit; considered Pointblank a younger brother (384) Donald (402)
Tom Mills[No Appearance] one of Aryan Brotherhood's most powerful leaders; incarcerated at Pelican Bay (291)
Mona[Brief Appearances] woman Shady currently living with (171) stretch marks on stomach; crooked teeth; stoned; lost her 5 children to Childhood Protective Services (172)
Greg Mortenson[One Appearance] Pelican Bay C.O.; in dining room when fight broke out (404)
Regina Murray[One Appearance] Pelican Bay nurse; size and mannerism reminded Peyton of nurse in Misery; difficult to like (315) 5'10"; received unkind remarks from convicts (316)
Officer Nance[One Appearance] picked Virgil up from Peyton's house to deliver him to Pelican Bay (273)
Nuestra Family[Organization] Pelican Bay's most notorious gang; Operation Black Widow dented (82)
Operation Black Widow[Historical Data] encompassed 30 government agencies, including the FBI; took nearly 3 years; was one of largest, most expensive investigations of a U.S. gang to date (11)
Operation Inside[Term] the name of the operation for Virgil to infiltrate Hells Fury (17)
Officer Parquet[One Appearance] picked Virgil up from Peyton's house to deliver him to Pelican Bay (273)
Pelican Bay[Organization] one of most notorious prisons in America; located in Northern California (6) problems are reaching critical proportions; headquarters for gang violence (8) California's most notorious supermax (9) 3,343 inmates, considered the "worst of the worst" (10) opened in 1989 (33) sprawled over 275 acres 10 miles south of Oregon border (273) own fire department, water treatment facility, boiler plants, electric generators, full medical department, education department with teachers, school district superintendent; $180M a year to run (274)
Dr. Pendergast[Brief Appearances] Pelican Bay doctor (300)
Joseph Perry[Brief Appearance] associate warden at Pelican Bay; lower in rank than Peyton; wire-rimmed glasses; battled constant allergies (14)
Psychiatric Services Unit "PSU"[Term] 128 beds available (27)
Public Enemy Number 1[Organization] gang that divided into two camps; {1} true supremacists, {2} crime for profit (81)
Raliberto's Tacos[Business] on M Street of Crescent City; where Virgil and Wallace stopped to eat (33)
Rathman[No Appearance] Pelican Bay C.O.; testified against John (231)
Receiving and Release "R&R"[Term] where Virgil was brought into Pelican Bay (277)
Redwood Inn[Business] 24-room, garden-style motel; where departmental staff usually stayed (35)
Bentley Riggs[No Appearance] inmate John kicked when fell and cracked his head (231)
George Robinson[One Appearance] Pelican Bay corrections officer (295)
Belinda Rogers[One Appearance] Pelican Bay infirmary nurse; cute; petite; dark hair; young mother of two (299)
Rosalee[No Appearance] warden's assistant (399)
Officer Frank Rosenburg[Secondary Character] Senior Investigator of prison's 4-member police force; late 30s; wore police uniform instead of suit; charged with monitoring all drug and gang activity; investigated all other crime perpetrate in or originating from Pelican Bay (10) dark brown goatee (11)
Salano State Prison[Organization] Prison in California where Virgil's being held for killing his stepfather
Sandy[No Appearance] John's sister; saw Wallace at Raliberto's (177)
Security Housing Unit: "SHU"[Term] 1,200 Pelican Bay inmates resided in complete isolation (10) reserved for behavioral problems (27)
Shady[Secondary Character] the man calling the shots for The Crew (112) got nickname from resemblance to white rapper Eminen; had same slight build and forever-young face; appearance made it difficult to be taken seriously; no amount of weight lifting built bulk; sold drugs (171) soul patch only hair on his body (173)
Shelley[Brief Appearances] Peyton's administrative assistant; curly brown hair (25) large breasts strained against too-tight dress (26) jangling bracelet (27) smoker (277)
Felix Smith[One Appearance] Hells Fury member; attacked Virgil (408)
Lena Stout[One Appearance] running front desk at Redwood Inn (116)
The Crew[Organization] gang Virgil joined to survive prison and its corrections officers (32) once Virgil's friends, now his greatest enemy (34) offshoot of the Aryan Brotherhood; worse than all the other gangs (90) the worst people Virgil had ever known; hated them then and now (92)
Lee [Thomas][No Appearance] Michelle's ex-husband; corrections officer; lived block to the north of Redwood Inn (36)
Michelle Thomas[Brief Appearances] Redwood Inn manager; Peyton's friend; divorcee; 3 years younger than Peyton; went out together once a week (35) worked at Inn for 10 years; would not take kids away from father (36) not tactful; blurted whatever came to mind (195)
Pointblank Thompson[Secondary Character] The Crew member; gotten nickname from shooting cop at close range (111) tall man; thin line of hair along his jaw; pointy chin (205)
Transitional Housing Unit "THU"[Term] put gangbangers who decided to debrief
Ulnig[No Appearance] Pelican Bay C.O.; testified against John (231)
Mercedes Wallace[Brief Appearances] Rick's wife (93) nasty edge to her voice (94) gained some weight; let herself go (96) hazel eyes (97)
Rick Wallace[Major Secondary Character] associate director at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation ("CDCR"); brought Simeon to meeting; forever conscious of his appearance; heavy-looking gold ring (2) as calm, cool and collected as a politician (13) wanted to be director of CDCR someday (20) used to being in charge; arrogant (30) smug; cocky; shallow; not particularly likeable (32) refused to divorce because came from broken home (94) son of Congressman (108) state-issued Chevrolet Impala (237) dressed in expensive tailored suits (256) arrogant; self-absorbed (259) hairless chest (260) put his own needs, wants, desires first (345) thought the whole world revolved around him (347)
Ruby Wallace[One Appearance] Rick's daughter (98)
Chester Wellington[No Appearance] was to go to trial in Judge Garcia's court; Hells Fury did not want that (11)
Detric "Deech" Whitehead[No Appearance] put out hit on Judge Garcia (11) general of Hells Fury; in SHU for past 10 years; manages to get his orders out anyway (81) "Deech" (272)
Trinity Woods[No Appearance] Jake and Mia's babysitter (157) gunned down on Laurel's doorstep (167)
. . . . . .
B.O.S.[Slang] beat on sight (92)
'chomos'[Slang] child molesters (269)
C.O.[Slang] corrections officer; job didn't require more than high school diploma; not always brightest individuals; Pelican Bay's accused of being racist, cruel (274) acted tough when had every advantage, merely attempting to cover their inadequacies (275)
'daddies'[Slang] men who used sex to punish or control
'debrief''[Slang] disassociating and divulging everything he knew about the gang to which he belonged (48)
'dropping the flag'[Slang] bailing out of the gang (164)
'HACK'[Slang] horse's ass carrying keys (274)
'in the hat'[Slang] marked to be beaten or killed by other inmates (26)
'J-Cat'[Slang] going crazy (340)
'kite'[Slang] a written message (271)
'lifeboat'[Slang] an exoneration (111)
'make a bitch'[Slang] make sex slave (90)
'punk him out' [Slang] make sex slave (90)
'survivalist'[Slang] joining gang had nothing to do with the ideology; it was about having protection when you needed it (49)

"Inside" Quotations
59The only way to survive in his world, at least without going mad, was to stop wanting.   Wanting made him weak.   (Virgil)
60The opportunity to finally touch, taste, feel, smell and see the outside world had made him greedy.   He wanted to grab what he could, experience as much real living as possible before it was too late.   (Virgil)
85"You know what I want from you.   If you want it too, you don't have to make me dinner.   You don't have to view me as an equal.   Hell, you don't have to do anything at all.   Just ask."   (Virgil)
86Their eyes met again and she saw what she hadn't been able to see before -- vulnerability, maybe even confusion, beneath a shield of male pride.   (Peyton)
120"I don't want to care about you."   (Virgil)
140she represented everything he couldn't have and everything he wanted all at once   (Virgil)
153He'd expected her to balk at some point, to escape the risk associated with him, and now she'd done that.   His anger made her feel rigid and judgmental and selfish -- all the things she didn't want to be.   (Peyton)
177The decisions that had previously been controlled by cognitive function had been lost to instinct and hormones   (Peyton)
188"Quit treating me like some sort of . . . pity project"   (Virgil)
237He wondered what she'd think if she knew it was just the opposite.   She tore him up inside, made him feel, too much.   The sudden influx of everything he'd been missing had knocked him off balance, and because he hadn't adjusted to the real word yet, his behavior was out of whack.   (Virgil)
262Men were the same everywhere.   If it served their purposes, they'd do whatever they felt they could get away with.   (Virgil)
305I can't care.   Not right now."   (Virgil)
361"Because you're so much more than you know."   (Peyton)
361"I believe in you already."   (Peyton)

"Brenda Novak -- Inside" Review and Information Links
Rated Posted Site Notes, Comments, Etc.
---- Brenda Novak's WebsiteAuthor
---- Brenda Novak's FacebookAuthor
---- Brenda Novak's TwitterAuthor
3.0006-....-2011A Romance Reviewtotally disagree
B+ / warm09-02-2011All About Romanceliked, some valid points
4.85{27 reviews}Amazonas of: February 9, 2012
--05-15-2011Arms of a SisterReview // positive inflection
--05-15-2011Arms of A SisterBrenda Novak Interview // interesting
A- / 4.5004-02-2011Badass Book Reviewsalso on: Amazon
4.50 average{35 reviews}Barnes & Nobleas of: February 9, 2013
--02-01-2010Examiner . comBrenda Novak Interview
----Fact FictList of Books In "The Bulletproof Series"
----Fantastic FictionList of Brenda Novak's Books
--03-31-2011Feathered Quill Book ReviewsBrenda Novak Interview
----Fiction DBList of Brenda Novak's Books
--04-29-2011Fresh Fiction 
----Get Lost In A StoryBrenda Novak Interview
3.99{81 reviews}Good Readsas of: February 8, 2012
3.5007-31-2011Happily Ever After Readsreally liked // also on: Amazon, Good Reads
--05-10-2011I'd Rather Be Readingmore a comment than a review
C+07-12-2011Joyfully Retiredtotally missed what the book was about
5.0007-12-2011Joyfully Reviewedbuzz words review //also on: Amazon
9 / 306-14-2011Kat Latham / Reader, I Created Himliked, well-written
--12-06-2011Kiss and ThrillBrenda Novak Interview / "What I'm Reading"
4.0003-03-2011Leafs and Boundsokay // also on: Good Reads
3.58 average{6 ratings}Library Thingas of: February 8, 2012
5.0005-31-2011Long and Short Reviewsalso on: Amazon, Good Reads
--08-30-2010Long and Short ReviewsSpotlight on Brenda Novak
5.0006-28-2011Lori's Reading Cornerloved well-written review // also on: Amazon
----My Book, The MovieMarshal Zeringue picks people who could star in the movie
4.0009-21-2011One Good Book Deserves Anotherexcellent review // also on: Amazon, GR, Shelfari
3.90 average{45 ratings}Paperback Swapas of: February 8, 2013
4.00 / Mild--RT {Romantic Times} Book Reviews 
--{8 reviews}Shelfarias of: February 9, 2013
A06-28-2011The Book Pushersgood details // also on Good Reads
4.0006-13-2011The Book Vixengood details // also on: Amazon, GR, LT
4.0006-20-2011The Bookaholic Catliked // also on: Amazon, Good Reads
A06-29-2011The Good, The Bad, and The Unreaddisagree with some of Lynne's salient points
5.0006-18-2011The Romanceaholicexcellent review // shorter post on Good Reads
--07-01-2011True Crime Books Reviewsokay // positive inflection
4.00 / 4.0006-16-2011Under The Coversalso on: Shelfari
4.9502-09-2013Wolf Bear Does Booksshorter post on Amazon, Fiction DB, Good Reads, Library Thing, Shelfari

♥   Disclaimer:   I Purchased This Book
♥   Very Subjective Rating
♣   Will add your Inside review link to table, just ask

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