Title: An American Cage by Ted Galdi
Publisher: Precipice Books
Publication Date: To be released September 15, 2017
Source: Request from author and ARC from NetGalley
Title and Cover: An American Cage – Disturbing cover, Texas in red
Good grief, why isn’t this thing a subscription TV serial because there is NO WAY you could not go back each week to watch the explosive scenes from An American Cage, a sophomore release by Ted Galdi scheduled for September .
As this narrative sizzles off the page, you will be caught immediately in the most theatrical prison escape yet conceived. You might wonder how in the world can these guys, three wildly different inmates of the Thurgood L Crick maximum-security prison in Texas, make this break successfully? Don’t discount Danny Marsh and Monty Montgomery, both twenty-somethings to Phil Zorn’s forty-something. The first two are young and stupid strapping men, neither of whom landed in prison for something heinous–perhaps more on the error of judgment side–rather than terribly criminal. Phil on the surface appears to be the quiet, studious professor/scientist, wrongly accused and imprisoned, as he adamantly proclaims, because he was framed. But he has the smarts. Extreme smarts.
The plan took many long months, gathering the materials required some smuggling and the balance of items were collected little by little over time. Then the day comes.
Move with them through the air duct and eventually, ever so slowly and carefully, over the concertina wire. You can’t continue to hold your breath–but they are running, running, and something has gone wrong. Monty has a problem which will alter their original plan.
Phil, a master manipulator has chosen Danny very carefully, using keen, insightful psychology as he pairs Danny with Monty–genius. One will insure success with the ultimate plan because of the other. The two are told they’ll all go to Mexico with the documents, goods, and ID’s from Phil’s contact on the outside. Unfortunately, Wade has his own reasons for becoming a co-conspirator and demands $250k to cover their expenses. Danny comes from an upper-middle-class family, but even his parents wouldn’t be able to get that kind of money on a weekend.
The author has an amazing way of creating sympathy for Danny and Monty–these two guys just shouldn’t be here. Along the way to El Paso, they’ve picked up a young female hitchhiker and the situation turns ever more desperate. As the plot frantically moves along, we get to know each of the men and the girl and it doesn’t look like there is any good way out of this. You hope for something–anything–but there is a statewide manhunt out. We are introduced to Lieutenant John Ramos of the local sheriff’s office who finally believes he has a real path to respect and daydreams of advancement. He begins to put the pieces together, the case gathers steam, and he’s sure the collar will be his.
Dialogue can lapse into using some four-letter words–perhaps not unrealistic if you understand whom you are dealing with. Danny’s self-talk is extremely telling. This poor kid is…different…and getting into his head a little depressing. It was just too easy for Phil. In this plot, an empathetic protagonist flips and the sympathy turns to angst.
A refreshing digression of the plots I normally find in mystery/thrillers, this novel was new and compelling–at least to me. I couldn’t see any good way out of this, but Ted Galdi does an amazing job of wrapping up a very quickly degrading scenario. This goes from a suspense to ultimate hunched forward, eye-glued to the page thriller and doesn’t relax the grip until the end, which is thoroughly satisfying, if not wholly plausible. There is justice, and all I’ll say is Danny is the man! (Thank you, Ted)
Rosepoint Publishing: Five of Five Stars
The Author: (From Goodreads author description) “Ted Galdi is the author of the bestselling novel Elixir. The book is a winner of a Reader Views Reviewers Choice Award and a Silver Medal in the Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. Ted is a graduate of Duke University and lives in Los Angeles. He has been featured by ABC and FOX television, iHeartRadio, Examiner, and many other media outlets. Ted can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about him, check out his interviews, and receive updates about releases and special events before anyone else, visit his official website at www.tedgaldi.com.” ©2017 Virginia Williams