(Reviewed by Chuck Barksdale JUL 28, 2008)
"The state of Washington had estimated his age to be between twenty-five and thirty at the time he was discovered, lying near death in a railroad car down behind Western Station. Some bureaucrat had named him Paul Hardy, after a nephew who had died during childbirth. That was seven years ago, so these days Paul was probably somewhere in his midthirties, a strapping two-hundred-twenty-pound block of concrete who spent his days working for Ken Suzuki, a local landscaping contractor. While Paul could not actually be taught anything per se, he could with a bit of patience, be introduced to simple tasks."
After 12 books in two different series (about Frank Corso and Leo Waterman), G.M. Ford’s Nameless Night is an excellent and engrossing standalone thriller. The life of Paul Hardy, a ward of the state living at Harmony House, a long-term residential facility, who has limited mental capabilities and a disfigured face, is suddenly changed after being involved in a car accident. No one knows who Paul really is and how he ended up in Harmony House, but Paul’s adventures in trying to find out lead him in several different directions meeting many interesting people, while dealing with and trying to avoid enemies along the way.
The wealthy driver of the car that accidentally hits Paul feels guilty and pays for very expensive reconstructive surgery that not only repairs the new injuries but removes some old fragments from the frontal lobes of Paul’s brain from past injuries. These improvements not only change Paul’s appearance, but markedly improve his mental capabilities.
Although Paul is soon able to speak and think at an adult level, his memory of his prior life is very limited and at first all he remembers is the name “Wesley Allen Howard.” Helen Willis, the director of Harmony House, along with Paul’s part-time boss Ken Suzuki, both notice the change in Paul and want to help. They use the internet to see what they can find about Wesley Allen Howard and find many different and unhelpful possibilities. However soon after checking for that name, agents of the US government come to investigate Harmony House to see why someone was investigating that name.
Since Paul wants to better understand who he is and why the government may be interested in what his is doing, he decides to leave Harmony House and try to find out more about his prior life (without letting the government agents know). On his travels, he meets Brittany, a hair dresser who helps to change Paul’s appearance so he can avoid the government agents. Paul and Brittany hit if off and when Brittany decides to drive back home to Alabama, Paul agrees to go with her. While in Alabama, Brittany and her family help Paul with some new information that he remembers to track down a possible lead for Wesley Allen Howard in Florida. Paul leaves on his own to go to Florida where he meets Wesley Howard and his wife. Paul finds them both a bit suspicious, especially when the wife suddenly disappears.
G. M. Ford has created an interesting story with enjoyable characters. The favorable characters, such as Paul Hardy, Brittany and Helen Willis are easy to like and trust. The government agents are very easy to hate and in some ways are a bit unbelievable. Nonetheless, this book keeps your interest from the beginning to the end.
Although G. M. Ford has written a couple of series that appear interesting, Nameless Night is the first book of his that I have read. I was happy to see I was able to start with a standalone and if Nameless Night is an indication of the style and quality of books by G. M. Ford, I have twelve books and two enjoyable series in front of me to read. In fact, I’ve already picked up two of his books.
- Amazon readers rating: from 13 reviews
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
- Nameless Night (February 2008)
Frank Corso novels:
- Fury (2001)
- Black River (2002)
- A Blind Eye (2003)
- Red Tide (2004)
- No Man's Land (2005)
- Blown Away (August 2006)
P.I. Leo Waterman novels:
- Who in Hell is Wanda Fuca? (1995)
- Cast in Stone (1996)
- The Bum's Rush (1997)
- Slow Burn (1998)
- Last Ditch (1999)
- The Deader the Better (2000)
- Thicker Than Water (July 2012)
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- January Magazine interview with G.M. Ford
- Trashotron site on G.M. Ford
- Thrilling Detective on P.I. Leo Waterman Series and Frank Corso novels
- Chapter excerpt from Last Ditch, a Leo Waterman Mystery
- Chapter excerpt from The Deader The Better
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About the Author:
G.M (Jerry) Ford lived in Seattle and taught creative writing in high school through university levels for 20 years before becoming a full time detective novelist.
Ford now lives in Oregon