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Monday, June 20, 2011

ARC Review: Inside by Brenda Novak

Title: Inside
Author: Brenda Novak
Series: Bulletproof Trilogy, book 1
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Publisher: Mira (06/28/2011)
Source: Review copy from publisher
Format: E-book
“Virgil Skinner served fourteen years for a murder he didn't commit. He's finally been exonerated, but he can't escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They'll do anything to keep him from telling what he knows. And if they can't get to Virgil they'll go after his sister and her kids.
The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang, one that's taking control of the state's most notorious supermax. Virgil agrees to do it under an alias—in exchange for his sister's protection.
Chief Deputy Warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she's far too attracted to him; she might even be falling in love with him. That makes her all the more desperate to keep him safe—and it gives him someone else to lose.”
Inside is the first book of the new trilogy The Bulletproof by Brenda Novak.

Virgil Skinner has had a very tough life. He has served fourteen years in prison for a crime he didn’t committed. During those years he did what was necessary to survive in a prison, like joining a dangerous gang called The Crew. Now that he has been acquitted of all counts he wants to live a normal and quiet life, but being a member The Crew is a lifetime commitment, the only way to leave the gang is death. He knows as soon as the gangs realizes he has deserted, the gang will go for the persons he loves the most, his sister Laurel and her two little kids.
The government knows this as well and offers him a solution; they need him to infiltrate another dangerous gang in prison called Pelican Bay. In exchange for his help with this matter his sister and kids will be place under the witness protection program and will receive new identities. He is willing to do anything to protect them and accepts the offer knowing the risk is so high it may cost him his life.
Peyton Adams has been working as Chief Deputy Warden in Pelican Bay for the last six months. She considers the operation the California Department of Corrections is planning to do in her jail a very high-risk operation with low probabilities of success. She feels is will be almost impossible for her to offer protection to Virgil as an undercover agent and she knows if any member of Hell’s Fury suspects anything about Virgil he will be kill immediately.
Meeting Virgil a couple of days before he is supposed to enter jail didn’t help her at all. Now she knows his story and why he has accepted this crazy offer. Payton thinks he has suffer enough and he shouldn’t be put in that position. To complicate things even more, Virgil is not just what his tough appearance shows, in the short time she discovers he is much more, he intrigues her and makes her want him as she has never wanted before.  And now he will be in her jail as a snitch and he will be her responsibility.

Virgil is a tortured hero. He has been in jail for a homicide he didn’t commit since he was eighteen. For his last fourteen years his life has been lived like a life in a jungle, where just the strongest survives. He is used to be looking back to see where the next attack will come from and tenderness and caring are things he has forbidden himself to experience. He may have been an innocent man when he entered jail, but he is not so innocent anymore. He is an ex-con and feels he doesn’t deserve anything good. Despite all this he has a good heart and is disposed to do anything in his power to protect the people he loves.

Peyton is an idealist. She had a difficult childhood with events that forged her in the woman she has become. She is dedicated to her work and wants to make a mark in society. She believes in the goodness of people and tries to give always the benefit of the doubt before making a final opinion of a person.

There is a palpable attraction between Virgil and Payton since the beginning. The relationship was well developed with all the complications of this difficult situation. Virgil and Peyton are very different but they complement each other perfectly making the romance in this book a believable one.

The secondary characters are so well written that you cannot do anything but love some and wish them the best and hate others and wish they would disappear at least six feet under.

We just get some glimpses of Virgil’s sister Laurel’s story, for what we learned her life has been a hard and sad one, but even though she has had that kind of life Laurel has always been there for Virgil. Mrs. Novak next book in this trilogy will be Laurel’s book, is called In Seconds and will be available August 30th 2011. I can’t wait to read it.

The world pictured in Inside is a very tough world, is the one of prisons, gangs, corruption, violence and painful realities.
This book is packed with action, suspense and intrigues. Mrs. Novak will have you biting your nails while devouring this book page by page.

There were some couple of open ends I thought needed a resolution. I don’t know if Mrs. Novak left them like that in purpose, and is planning of retaking them in the next installment. I hope that is the case.

Inside was my first book by Brenda Novak and I can guarantee you it won’t be my last. I really liked this book and enjoyed her writing style. I’m planning to read In Seconds as soon as it’s available.

My Verdict: 4 Paws

Other books in this series
Inside (6/28/2011)
In Seconds (8/30/2011)
In Close (10/25/2011)

Other reviews Goodreads


  1. Sounds good and I truly need to read more romantic suspense

  2. I am a new Follower through seeing a twitter post retweeted by Smexybooks. I can't resist cats! I will be back to check this out more. Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust
    Twitter: @fangswandsfairy

  3. Blodeuedd, I usually don't read much in this genre, but after reading this book I will read more romantic suspense. The end was a little bit abrupt but in general was a good read.

    Steph, Welcome to my blog. Cats are the best!
    I hope you enjoy my posts and hope to see you around. =)


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