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Crime. Crime Writers. Crime Writing

Grid Lock: Sean Black

This Review posted by Sam Blake on 25 September 2011.

If you like Lee Child’s Jack Reacher, you’ll love Sean Black’s ex Royal Marine investigator  turned personal protection expert Ryan Lock. He has a similar background to Reacher,  but unlike Lee Child’s creation, Ryan Lock doesn’t work alone. Lock has a business partner Ty – Tyrone –  cool, black and as tough as they come, and is engaged to newspaper reporter, Carrie.

So what was it about the story that had me hooked?


Adult movie actress Raven Lane is one of the most lusted after women in America, with millions of fans to prove it. But when a headless corpse turns up in the trunk of her car, she realizes that fame carries a terrible price.
Fearing for her life, and with the LAPD seemingly unable to protect her, Raven turns to Ryan Lock for help.Lock stops bad things happening to good people, but can he stop the tidal wave of violence engulfing the city of Los Angeles as Raven’s predator targets – and kills – those closest to her?
As events spiral out of control, Lock is drawn into a dangerous world where money rules, where sex is a commodity to be bought and sold, and where no one can be trusted, least of all his beautiful new client. But what he cannot know is the terrifying price he’s about to pay – just for getting involved…
Black graduated from Oxford University with a degree in Philosophy, Politics and Economics, and went on to win a place at Columbia University in New York to study for a Master of Fine Arts in Film – between 1999 and 2008, he wrote over seventy episodes of some of Britain’s best-known television dramas. In 2006, as part of the research for a television series Black was developing, he enrolled on an intensive 24-day bodyguarding course. The TV series wasn’t picked up, but it gave him the idea for a series of thrillers about an ex-military bodyguard who finds himself working in high-end private security. In November of 2007, he started writing the first book in the Ryan Lock series, Lockdown.
Although he was born in Scotland, Black lived in Indiana as a child, and later in New York for three and a half years while he was studying – before moving to Los Angeles, where he met his wife. Black’s American characters are authentic, his locations real. And Black’s research shows – for the second book in the series, Black went to Pelican Bay Supermax prison in California—home to some of America’s most violent criminals. In this book he draws on all this experience and more.
The key with Grid Lock, and Sean Black’s writing as a whole, is sharp description and great characterisation. Nothing is quite what it seems, and in true cinematic style, Black’s chapter transitions are so polished and slick that you roll along with the  story, the shock of the ending’s wicked twist all the more gut wrenching as a result. This is a thriller that will keep you turning the pages right to the end.
Praise for Sean Black:
‘Black’s star just keeps on rising’ – Evening Telegraph
‘The pace of Lee Child and the heart of Harlan Coben’ – Joseph Finder
‘This is a writer, and a hero, to watch’ – Daily Mail
‘Sean Black writes like a punch to the gut’ – Jesse Kellerman