Green River Rising

Green River Rising by Tim Willocks may be set at a fictional prison in Texas, but I’m glad I’ve never served any time there. The Green River Penitentiary is described like some gothic fortress for the damned, and is indeed a frightening character onto itself amongst a cast of terrifying sociopaths and lunatics. The action centers around a prison riot, the true impetus behind which isn’t fully revealed until late in the novel, by which time I was already hooked and along for this horrific suspense-filled descent into the peculiar hell that humanity has wrought by way of the penal system. In the midst of this prison riot, the well-drawn characters perform some of the basest and most vile acts, as well as behave in the most humane and compassionate of ways, proving that we are all human, and we all make choices with our actions. The author’s ear for dialogue is spot on and his prose surprises at every turn with its depth and freshness. Several times through reading this book, I wondered what other novels the author had written, and couldn’t wait to read them, too. The dénouement left me a little disappointed, but a thrill this chilling and consuming can’t last forever.

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