No Man's Landby G. M. Ford
The accolades keep rolling in for G.M. Ford, whose gritty, explosive, lightning-fast brand of thriller has placed him in the upper ranks of contemporary crime fiction authors. Now, in his most relentlessly exciting novel to date, Ford's dark and complex protagonist, Frank Corso, finds himself drawn into a bizarre carnival of blood and death in the last place any… See more details below
The accolades keep rolling in for G.M. Ford, whose gritty, explosive, lightning-fast brand of thriller has placed him in the upper ranks of contemporary crime fiction authors. Now, in his most relentlessly exciting novel to date, Ford's dark and complex protagonist, Frank Corso, finds himself drawn into a bizarre carnival of blood and death in the last place any sane person would willingly go ...
No Man's Land
Arizona's Meza Azul penitentiary is the pride of the state's newly privatized penal system a modern technological wonder, unassailable and inescapable, built to hold the worst of the worst. Yet, inconceivably, one prisoner has managed to breach the foolproof security, set loose the other inmates, and take control of the facility holding more than one hundred guards and workers hostage. And one hostage will die every six hours until Timothy Driver gets what he wants: Frank Corso.
A rogue journalist and confirmed lone wolf, Corso wrote a bestselling book about the former U.S. Navy submarine commander who was convicted of slaughtering his wife and her lover in a jealous fury. Now, unwilling to be responsible for the death of innocents, Corso allows himself to be delivered into the bowels of Meza Azul and into the hands of a crazed hero turned criminal.
But Captain Driver wants more than the ear of a once-sympathetic writer who will tell his final story tough and truthfully. Accompanied by a cold-blooded hayseed murder machine named "Cutter" Kehoe, and with Corso in tow, Driver pulls off a brilliant and undetected escape, right under the noses of armed government troops as they storm the captured prison. Suddenly a helpless spectator along for the ride on a maniacal cross-country killing spree with a tragic and beautiful TV journalist doggedly pursuing the story, heading inexorably into harm's way Corso finds himself in no man's land.
If he's lucky, Frank Corso may get one slim chance to escape the clutches of a psychopathic duo determined to go out in a blaze of blood and terror. But if he's not, his own story and too many others will end abruptly and brutally.
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Meet the Author
G.M. Ford is the author of six widely praised Frank Corso novels, Fury, Black River, A Blind Eye, Red Tide, No Man's Land, and Blown Away, as well as six highly acclaimed mysteries featuring Seattle private investigator Leo Waterman. A former creative writing teacher in western Washington, Ford lives in Oregon and is currently working on his next novel.
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No Man's Land
By G.M. Ford
HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.Copyright © 2005 G.M. Ford
All right reserved.
"As of this moment, we are holding one hundred sixtythree hostages. Starting at eighteen hundred tonight, I'm going to shoot one of them every six hours until Frank Corso is delivered to me." The handheld camera shimmied, but the voice never lost its tone of command and the hooded black eyes never wavered.
The picture rolled once, then the screen went blank. Governor James Blaine looked back over his shoulder at Warden Elias Romero. An unasked question hung in the air like artillery smoke.
"His name is Timothy Driver," Romero said. "He's a transfer from the State of Washington. Doing life without ... for double aggravated murder."
A glimmer of recognition slid across the governor's pouchy face. "The navy guy? The captain?"
"Yes sir," said Romero. "Driver used to be a Trident submarine captain." Romero cleared his throat. "Came home a little early from a cruise. Found his wife flying united with some local guy. Lost it. Got himself a gun and offed them both, right there in his own bed. Blinded another inmate and stabbed a guard during his first week in a Washington prison. The con was a big player in the Aryan Brotherhood. The guard was an old hand ... popular with the staff. Washington figured it wasn't safe to keep Driver around their system anymore ... so they shipped him to us."
The governor jammed his hands into his suit pants pockets. "How the hell could something like this happen?" he demanded. "Meza Azul is supposed to be--" He stopped himself. "As I recall, the design was supposed to prevent something like this from ever taking place."
"Yes sir ... it was." Romero pointed to the bank of surveillance monitors nearly covering the south wall of the security office. The screens were blank and black. Romero cleared his throat. "We've got the last minute and forty-five seconds of tape before Driver turned the security system off. It's quite--"
"Let me see it," the governor interrupted.
Romero crossed the room, jabbed at several buttons and stood aside, allowing the governor to belly up to the monitor. White static filled the large central screen.
"It's quite graphic," Romero warned.
"I'm a big boy," the governor assured him.
The picture appeared. Shot from above. Somebody in a guard's uniform putting an electronic key into what appeared to be an elevator door. The figure pocketed the key and bounced his eyes around all four walls before removing something from his inside jacket pocket and turning his back on the camera for a full thirty seconds.
"It's Driver in a guard's uniform," Romero said. On-screen, Driver had straightened up and was poking his index finger at the keyboard on the wall as Romero narrated. "He just used a security key in the elevator to the control module, then ..." He raised his hands in despair. "And then somehow or other he disabled the fingerprint recognition technology."
Romero reached around the governor and pushed the STOP button.
"On any given day, only five men have access to the central elevator. The pod operator, who you're about to see in a minute, and the four senior duty officers." He dropped his hands to his sides. "Driver found some way around it." He moved quickly to the console. The figure started to move again "Look. He's punching in the security code."
On-screen, the door slid open. Driver stepped inside and momentarily disappeared.
Blaine's face was red now. "How in God's name did a prisoner get hold of any of that?" the governor sputtered. "A uniform"-- he waved a large liver-spotted hand--"the security code. How could ..."
Romero merely shook his head, refusing to speculate. He stuck to the facts.
The picture cut to the interior of the elevator, where the man in blue stood calmly in the center of the car, hands folded in front of him, bored expression on his face.
"Driver had an appointment for a medical checkup. We're guessing he somehow overpowered the team we sent for him." Romero shrugged and swallowed hard. "Somehow or other, he must have ..." Romero searched for a word. "... he must have induced the guard sergeant to part with the security code."
"And the fingerprint identification?"
The two men passed nervous glances as the picture cut to the interior of the control module, where an African-American man in a starched white shirt swiveled his chair, turning to face the elevator door just in time for the man in blue to step inside and point to the bank of security monitors. "Check sixty-three," he said in a command voice.
Without a word, the man in white turned his back on the closing elevator door and began running his fingers over his keyboard. Whatever was supposed to appear on monitor sixty-three would remain forever a mystery as Driver looped what appeared to be a length of thin wire around the other man's neck, made a sudden twist at the nape and began to pull with sufficient force to lift the man in white from the chair. His fingers clawed at his throat and his eyes tried to burst from their sockets, as rivulets of blood began to pour down over the white Randall Corporation shirt and he began to convulse, his legs beating time on the hard stone floor, his open mouth spewing ...
James Blaine turned his face away. While the governor was busy retaining his lunch, Romero reached around him and pushed the STOP button. Silence filled the room like dirty water ...
Excerpted from No Man's Land by G.M. Ford Copyright © 2005 by G.M. Ford. Excerpted by permission.
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