Review of “The Chase” by Candice Fox

The creative plot of The Chase begins with an astonishing and successful scheme to break out every prisoner from the (fictional) Pronghorn Correctional Facility in the Nevada Desert. 653 inmates in all were set free. Right away, some 291 were rounded up on the roads to Las Vegas, Utah, or Arizona, but the most dangerous were still at large.

Trinity Parker, a US Marshal, is spearheading the team effort to contain the damage and re-arrest the escapees. The team quickly ascertains there had to be someone inside helping orchestrate the escape plan, and they were able to narrow down the culprit pretty quickly. But that didn’t help get the inmates back inside.

Celine Osbourne, who is the supervisor of death row, is determined to get her charges back, because the thought of what these dangerous men might do when back out in the world terrifies her. She is especially obsessed with recapturing John Kradle, sentenced to death for the murder of his family. Celine is focused on him because when she was 17, all the other members of her family were killed at a Christmas gathering by her grandfather. In her mind she has equated Kradle with her grandfather, and harbors a keen hatred for him.

In alternate chapters we follow what is happening with several of the escapees, including not only Kradle, but the truly frightening serial killer Homer Carrington; Abdul Hamsi, a failed terrorist; and Burke David Schmitz, a neo-Nazi white nationalist killer. Most of the men who got out were interested in either stealing money and making new lives, getting revenge, or finishing the crimes they were prevented from carrying out before they were incarcerated. But Kradle was determined to prove his innocence and find out who killed his family and why it happened. He starts calling Celine to enlist her in the effort. Celine in turn asks for the help of Walter Keeper, called Keeps, a con man who doesn’t hesitate to add Celine to his victims.

In a tension-filled denouement, we find out the truth about all of the characters and about their guilt or innocence.

Evaluation: Candice Fox excels in writing tense thrillers with nuanced characters, in which it is never clear who may or may not survive. This makes for very entertaining reading.

Rating: 4/5

Published by Tom Doherty, 2021

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