cover image The Chase

The Chase

Candice Fox. Forge, $27.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-250-79883-1

A mass breakout from the Pronghorn Correctional Facility in Nevada, orchestrated by someone with inside connections, drives this uneven thriller from Fox (Crimson Lake). The desert quickly fills with hundreds of convicts heading to Vegas and surrounding communities for their first taste of freedom in a long time. Meanwhile, U.S. Marshal Trinity Parker is particularly concerned about one fugitive, Burke David Schmitz (aka the Mardi Gras Shooter), and death row supervisor Celine Osbourne is obsessed with recapturing John Kradle, who “came home from work one day and blew his wife and kid away.” The main story line involving the purpose of the breakout and its primary beneficiary is soon overshadowed by the subplot featuring Celine and Kradle, the book’s best-developed character. Trinity is a caricature of a lawman, Schmitz is a stock mass murderer/domestic terrorist, and chapters featuring other assorted convicts come across as little more than filler. The backstory chapter in which Celine visits her grandfather in prison, however, is superbly written. As a whole, this novel reads like an underdone pie—tasty morsels in a bland filling, surrounded by a doughy and undercooked crust. (Mar.)