cover image Cornered


Brandon Massey, . . Pinnacle, $6.99 (384pp) ISBN 978-0-7860-2085-0

Massey (Don't Ever Tell ) starts this thriller with a bang, but it quickly trails off into a whimper. Corey Webb, a successful Atlanta entrepreneur, seems to have a perfect life until Leon Sharpe, a childhood friend from Webb's days in Detroit, comes to town. Sharpe, now on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List, wants a hefty sum from Webb to keep quiet about a dark secret from Webb's “quite unsavory past.” It's not long before Webb's gorgeous wife, Simone, and young daughter, Jada, get pulled into the tangle of lies and blackmail. At first, Webb's ordeal is compelling, but Massey keeps the reader waiting far too long for a disappointing revelation, and an implausible plot and stilted dialogue (“You've forgotten your roots, kiddo, it's time to pay the devil his due”) do little to make the slog worthwhile. (Aug.)