Glad I Was on the Outside! Inside by Brenda Novak

Posted July 24, 2014 by Jonetta in Book Review, Hot & Deadly | | 0 Comments

Glad I Was on the Outside! Inside by Brenda NovakInside by Brenda Novak
Series: Bulletproof #1
Published by Harlequin MIRA on July 1, 2011
Genres: Romantic Suspense
Pages: 448
Format: eBook
Source: Library
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Virgil Skinner served fourteen years for a murder he didn't commit. He's finally been exonerated, but he can't escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They'll do "anything" to keep him from telling what he knows. And if they can't get to Virgil they'll go after his sister and her kids.The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang, one that's taking control of the state's most notorious supermax. Virgil agrees to do it under an alias--in exchange for his sister's protection.

Chief Deputy Warden Peyton Adams is opposed to having Virgil in her prison. How will she protect him if things go bad? Besides, she's far too attracted to him; she might even be falling in love with him. That makes her all the more desperate to keep him safe--and it gives "him" someone else to lose.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to connect to a story involving a prison setting and was even reluctant to try. Well, I got over that after the first couple of chapters.
Quick summary

Virgil Skinner spent 14 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. He was just exonerated but it comes with strings attached. He’s got to go back inside, undercover at another facility, Pelican Bay, to help the Feds dismantle a seriously dangerous gang. Peyton Adams is the prison’s chief deputy warden and she’s got to keep him safe while he’s there without blowing his cover.


The romance

Virgil is the penultimate tortured hero! So much of this story takes place outside of the prison while he and Peyton spend some precious time together. For her it’s a risky situation as it could put her career in jeopardy but she’s drawn to this man who, in spite of all he’s experienced has a certain nobility about him. It’s an unconventional relationship and one you can’t help rooting for while a sense of futility seems to surround them.


The suspense

I don’t want to divulge too much about the story as events unfold rapidly with quite a few twists and turns. Virgil joined a gang called The Crew while in prison and they expect him to continue membership on the outside. When he walks away, they launch a deadly search for him, putting his sister at risk and adding an additional threat to that he’s facing going back inside. They are vicious and frightening.


The bottom line

The tension, both sexual and otherwise, is maintained throughout the duration of the story. Virgil is an extremely complex character who is the heart of the book. His relationship with Peyton, at times, is almost as tragic as his life was but is also his redemption as she understands the man inside. There aren’t too many moments where your pulse gets to slow down and don’t let the prison backdrop deter you. Novak created an authentic, realistic environment that’s gritty and daunting but makes it work! Of course, I’ve now got to finish the trilogy.

About Brenda Novak

Brenda sold her first book, and the rest is history. A New York Times and USA Today Bestselling author of fifty novels, Brenda Novak has been nominated for a prestigious Rita Award three times and won The National Reader’s Choice Award, the Bookbuyer’s Best, the Bookseller’s Best, the Writer Touch Reader Award, the Golden Quill, the Hold Medallion and the Award of Excellence, among others.
Brenda and her husband, Ted, live in Sacramento and are the proud parents of five children—three girls and two boys. When she’s not spending time with her family or writing, Brenda is usually working on her annual fund-raiser for diabetes research—an online auction held on her Web site ( every May. To date, she has raised over $2 million for this cause.

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I LOVE reading and am just crazy about so many series and writers. I’m open to exploring new authors and genres and appreciate those who not only write well but can deliciously craft a character and a tale. Your suggestions for new authors and titles are very much welcomed.

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