cover image No Man's Land

No Man's Land

G. M. Ford, . . Morrow, $16.95 (320pp) ISBN 978-0-06-055482-8

When Timothy Driver, who's serving life without parole in Meza Azul, America's most escape-proof prison, seizes control of the place and demands that Seattle true-crime writer Frank Corso come to Arizona to negotiate for the lives of 163 hostages, most sensible people would see it as an offer they can refuse—but not Corso, who's written a book about Driver. Ford seems so intent on separating his suspense novels about Corso (this is the fifth, after 2004's Red Tide ) from his lighter series about Seattle PI Leo Waterman that he darkens the environment and ups the danger ante to a grippingly readable but somewhat less-than-reasonable level. True, Corso does make a point of reassuring a doubtful Coast Guard officer sent to tell him about the demand, "Driver doesn't want to kill me. He wants to make sure his story gets told," but the officer (and the reader) don't believe that for a minute—especially when we know that Driver's accomplice in the takeover is a brutal biker, Cutter Kehoe. Driver and Kehoe are frighteningly fascinating in their actions and thoughts, and there's also a touchingly believable reality-show TV star, Melanie Harris, who sees the story as a way to boost her sagging ratings. Agent, Lisa Erbach Vance at Aaron M. Priest. (July 1)