Summary: A death row inmate, Prisoner U877 or The Brit, escapes from his execution during a blackout at Crenshaw Prison. He fights his way through a prison riot and helps his own jailers to save their souls. He is helped by a fellow prisoner, The Pastor, and a female prison guard, Navarro.
My thoughts: This is clearly a good versus evil story. It reminded me of two Nicolas Cage movies—The Rock and the Ghost Rider; the former because of the escape from the prison and the latter because of the reference to saving souls.
The book also reminded me of the novels (fantasy genre) I edited. They were good stories. So is Gates. However, I had to remind the author of those novels that although the stories were clear in his mind, they were not lucid enough for the readers. I wish someone had told G. S. Luckett the same.
Unless you read the blurb or until you are halfway through the story, you will not realize that most of the characters are already dead and it is their souls that need to escape.
The prison, with its blocks and tunnels, is also confusing, especially with characters ‘jumping’ from one place to another. Maybe a plan or map of the layout would have helped. Or was the novel too short to have included one, I wonder?
There were grammatical and punctuation errors in the copy I received. I hope that it was an Advanced Reader Copy and that the mistakes were corrected before the book was published.
Regardless of all the negative points above, I read it in a couple of hours or so. The setting and the idea may feel familiar and the story may seem confusing but there is no doubt that the author is creative.
The characters of The Brit, The Pastor, and the guard Navarro are multidimensional; all of them have background stories as to how they became what they are now. The fight between good and evil is depicted well in the story.
This book would make a good movie. If you prefer fast-paced books with lots of action, you will like it.
Note: The book was given to me by G. S. Luckett in exchange for an honest review. I thank him for that.