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Black, Sean - 'Gridlock'
Paperback: 416 pages (July 2012) Publisher: Corgi ISBN: 0552162566

Raven Lane is a pole dancing, porn film star and after driving back to her exclusive Los Angeles home, following a performance, she is shocked to discover in the boot of her BMW car the decapitated body of a fellow porn movie actress. She calls the police and a scene of crime team arrives to microscopically inspect her home. She asks the lead detective, Lawrence Stanner from the LAPD's Threat Management Unit, for advice on obtaining a bodyguard as she is definitely very shaken about what has occurred. He recommends a New York based team who happen to be still in LA following a previous engagement.

So Ryan Lock and his business associate Ty Johnson agree to offer 24 hour surveillance to the twenty-eight-year-old star and her Down's syndrome affected younger brother. Ryan first gets a locksmith to reinforce all windows and doors with new high security locks and CCTV and installs a safe room in Raven's bedroom with an armoured door. Whilst doing this Raven has a shock in that she notices a dress which she did not buy and it has a notice on it from her stalker saying he would like to see her in it!! So it is obvious that the person concerned has been inside her house recently.

Ryan and Ty agree to protect Raven and her brother 24/7 and whilst they do this Carrie, Ryan's TV news reporter girlfriend, does research on Raven and her associates back at the Malibu beach house that Ryan has been lent by his previous client. Although Ryan would prefer Raven to remain in her home whilst the threat is there, she insists on flying in an executive jet to Las Vegas for a special job. Ryan goes with her but she is threatened by her employer there, a Russian Mafia billionaire and his body guard and Ryan needs to intervene and they have to return to LA in a much less sophisticated manner by economy flight.

Ryan begins to realise that whilst Los Angeles is famous for Hollywood and the straight film industry there is billions more money being made in the same town from the adult pornographic film industry and as a consequence there are a lot of men who lust after Raven and want to use her to satisfy their fantasies. Some of them are not satisfied with just buying the DVD or seeing her pole dance but want her in the flesh at the other end of a gun. However, because there is a lot of money in the adult film industry, organised crime has moved into it and some of the people that Raven has mixed with are little more than gangsters and unfortunately she has upset a few and they want their own back.

The book is a very fast and exciting read by this Scottish author who is married to an American and lives in the US. He seems to have taken a leaf out of the book of fellow Brit, Lee Child, as the books are written with very short chapters and in a fast pacey American English. However, I should warn that the book is very violent in a gritty sort of way, so should not be read by the squeamish.

Sean Black, the author, used to be a journalist and screenwriter and is very research orientated. He has been on month-long bodyguard courses and even spent some time in America's most dangerous maximum security prison in order to get background for his books and it shows, as he writes with an authenticity that is missing from other novels. This book at 400 pages was a very entertaining, page-turner and I enjoyed it very much and look forward to his fourth book.

Terry Halligan, England
July 2012

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 25/07/2012 21:44