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Book Review: Nameless Night by G.M. Ford

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I’ve been a fan of G.M. Ford for a few years now. I’ve especially enjoyed his books about crusading reporter Frank Corso, and my personal favorite of those books is A Blind Eye. Ford writes larger than life heroes and about true evil, with a smattering of philosophy concerning the measure of an individual. Not enough to be preachy, but enough to make you stop and think every now and again.

His newest release, Nameless Night, is a good fit for him. A suspense story wrapped up with a mystery suspended by enigmas over certain death. It’s a stand-alone novel, the first that he’s written (unless there’s a sequel in the works).

The old hero-has-amnesia from a violent crime has been done near unto death. After The Bourne Identity, I really thought we wouldn’t see anything like that for a while. Or at least not see a writer pull it off quite so well.

Ford thumbs his nose at conventional thinking, though, and heads right to the core of the story on page one. His story is about an amnesiac and the people who are out to kill him, and he’s not going to back off from that.

I liked the way Ford sets up the character of Paul Hardy. Hardy is likeable and you can’t help feeling for him for all that he’s lost. His face is horribly disfigured and his skull is misshapen, which is the obvious reason he’s lost his memory. Not only has he lost his long-term memory, but his short-term memory is almost negligible as well. The characters at the house where he’s been made a ward of the state are a welcome addition, and I was glad to see that they weren’t just tossed away after the initial introduction.

As always, Ford kicks the ball into play from the opening page. Before the first chapter wraps, even Hardy’s dismal life as a mentally challenged person suddenly hangs by a thread. While trying to save another ward of the foster home, he’s hit by a car and receives even more extensive damage.

I have to admit, I was ready to start playing the Six Million Dollar Man theme song as the doctors rebuilt him, starting with his face and the huge dent in his skull. As soon as he starts healing, he starts getting his memory back. The doctor that performed the surgery even stated that the brain started sliding back to occupy the space that was taken away. I knew something was going to change.

The book quickly moves into familiar territory. Hardy recalls a name and one of the well-meaning people at the home searches for it on the computer. Immediately black cars filled with government agents descend upon the home and start asking questions.

In short order, Nameless Night becomes something of a road trip as Hardy, now called Randy, starts trying to pull his new life together while searching for his past. The pursuers are never far away, and the chapters often cut to shadowy bad guys and other people get roped into the whole affair.

As always, Ford delivers a deftly paced puzzler with some roundhouse gutbusters that remind the reader that not everyone is going to make it out of the book alive. Everything remains up for grabs, and it’s interesting to see all of the people that are involved.

I have to admit, Randy’s real identity was astounding. I really didn’t see it coming, had no real clue. More than that — although there is a political coverup involved — it’s not one most readers have before seen.

I had a great time with the novel. Nameless Night is one of those perfect weekend reads – or you can save it for the beach. Either way, Ford is back in fine form. This is a great little thriller.

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