Black River


G.M. Ford


Mystery / Thriller


Date Reviewed:

October 10, 2006

n author named G.M. Ford? I wonder if he has a sibling named V.W. Ford, or Chrysler!

I like this book. It is the story of Frank Corso, an independently wealthy writer - apparently he made a fortune as an investigative journalist and wrote a big bestseller, though if this was explained in detail I must have skipped over it. Corso is attending the trial of a mobster named Belagula. Belagula cut so many corners in construction costs when building a children's hospital that it collapsed during a minor earthquake, killing 63 people. Belagula has been on trial the twice before, but jury tampering and witness intimidation have prevented a conviction. But this time the prosecution thinks it has an iron clad case, a witness who was present when the inspectors agreed to lie about the quality of the construction work. Apparently Corso is following the story so he can write another book.

Belagula employs two Cuban killers to carry out the dirty work. These guys keep popping up in the story, wreaking mayhem. Corso's friend Meg happens to walk into a warehouse to do an interview just as the two Cubans are finishing off a man. The Cubans chase Meg, and it seems she must have perished in the horrific crash that follows, but she survives. However, Meg is too incapacited to describe to anyone what she saw. Corso investigates, and finds himself more than just an observer in the Belagula case.

This story is well told, but for me its setting is a bonus: the story takes place in Seattle, where I currently live. Corso lives on houseboat (he must be wealthy!) on Lake Union - the office where I work is right next to Lake Union, by the Fremont Bridge (which Corso crosses at one point in the story.) The title of the story refers to the river which used to drain Lake Washington. But now that the ship canal has been cut, the water level in Lake Washington has dropped by 9 feet, and the Black River has disappeared (I didn't even know there was a Black River here in Seattle.)

I think I will go back to read Fury, which is the first in the Frank Corso series. Apparently, Ford has just release his 6th book in the series, Blown Away, hopefully the other stories are equally good.