Saturday, October 11, 2014

Slow Bleed-Trey R. Barker

Slow Bleed
Trey R. Barker
Five Star, Sep 24 2014, $25.95
ISBN: 9781432829124

Now in her twenties, Jace Salome was raised by Gramma at the older woman’s motel after her mother vanished.  Nervously, she starts her first night as a Deputy at the Zachary County Jail.  At her initial meeting presided over by Sergeant Dillon, Jace meets Deputy Rory Bogan.  While on her first shift in A Pod, Deputy Reynolds and inmate Thomas get into a fight.  By the time Jace arrives, Thomas is dead.

The Texas Rangers investigate but find nothing wrong though Jace feels this was a setup to get away with murdering a prisoner.  She and Rory make their own unofficial inquiry only to find a very high frequency of inmate deaths at the hands of correction officers.  As she obtains more information, Jace realizes if she continues to dig, she could become a prison death statistic.

Slow Bleed is a tense dark law enforcement thriller that spotlights good, bad and fence-straddling prison guards.  The fence sitters especially add a fascinating Typhoid Mary-like ends justify the means moral issue as they insist they perform a public safety necessity by insuring deviants like pedophiles can never torment a child again.  Filled with blood and gore, the naive but dedicated lead struggles between getting along by ignoring what she observes and learns, or continue her dangerous probe.  Not for those with a squeamish stomach, Trey R. Barker provides his audience with a gritty Texas prison drama in which we will want more Salome novels.

Harriet Klausner

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