I read the second book in this series, Fourth Reich Rising, back in September. Upon reading my comments author Tom Schwartz promptly offered me a copy of the first book so I could see how the tale started.
Author Jack Shepherd is driving home from a meeting with his publisher when two cops mistake him for a big league drug dealer. Looking to retire on a high they use an unauthorised procedure to force him to stop, and when Jack, thinking he is being car-jacked, goes for his mobile phone one of the officers opens fire. Events unravel quickly and the officers, realising they have wrongly identified him, re-write events and falsify evidence to cover themselves. Jack was over the legal limit for alcohol and he pleads guilty to a lesser offence with a view to reducing his sentence. While he is inside he befriends a savvy repeat offender and manages to negotiate life on the inside with only the odd hitch. One of those hitches is an attack by another inmate who mistakes Jack for the same drug dealer, and when he calls Jack by another name events start to become clearer.
While I couldn't be entirely sympathetic towards Jack, because of his drunk driving, details of his time in prison and the overall impression of his character was of a good man who had made a heck of a mistake but been labelled an attempted cop killer and had his name further tarnished thanks to the officers involved. Having read the second book it was interesting to find out more about Jack, wife Judi and other characters including successful lawyer Maggie.
This wasn't a particularly short book, going on the number of locations on the kindle, but I raced through it. It was an easy and enjoyable read that I completed in a day or so. I particularly liked reading about Maggie's team's efforts to clear Jack's name and liked the portrayal of the hierarchy found in the prison.
In places I found it a little too much tell and not enough show but all told really enjoyed this book which ends with all the threads brought together, along with a nice summary of what happens to the main characters next.
Format: Kindle, review copy
My Rating: 4*