Excerpt From INside by Brenda Novak
- June 28, 2011
- ISBN-10: 0778329933
- ISBN-13: 978-0778329930
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Peyton Adams eyed the three men who’d driven to the public library with her from the prison, as well as the two they’d secretly come to meet. She knew what she had to say wouldn’t be popular, especially with the warden, who was growing desperate enough to try anything, but she felt duty-bound to express her opinion. "I say no. It’s too risky. Maybe if we put him in the SHU we could protect him, but not in general population. No way."
Simeon Bennett, the person whose life she was attempting to save, sat across the conference table from her and hardly seemed grateful. "You disagree?" she said when his gaze shifted to her and his ice-blue eyes narrowed.
"I’m confident I can complete the assignment or I wouldn’t be sitting here," he said.
An employee of Department 6, a company she’d never heard of before but which had just been described as a private security contractor based out of L.A. specializing in domestic investigations, he looked as tough as any inmate she’d seen in the sixteen years she’d been working corrections. Somewhere in the neighborhood of six foot four inches tall and 225 pounds, he could’ve been hewn out of stone. With biceps and pecs that bulged beneath his carefully ironed dress shirt, and his blonde hair shaved in a precise military haircut, he had an intimidating appearance. But it would take a lot more than muscle and a malevolent stare to survive inside Pelican Bay if he happened to spook the wrong inmate.
"I don’t think you understand what it’s like in prison." She motioned at the door, which they’d just closed, to signify the place where she worked, even though it was eight miles northeast of the library.
It was plain he wanted to contest what she said but, for whatever reason, he quickly leashed the impulse. Maybe he was saving up for the final salvo. Rick Wallace, an Associate Director at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the man who’d brought him, took up the argument instead.
"I know what we’re proposing is unprecedented, but the problems at Pelican Bay are reaching critical proportions. Something’s got to be done. The director is determined to uncover and prosecute whoever is responsible for murdering Judge Garcia." Forever conscious of his appearance, he straightened his expensive yet conservative tie. "Secretary Hinckley and the governor are both behind him on this. What with various newspapers around the state taking up the old cry that Pelican Bay is a headquarters for gang violence, we’ve got to act and act decisively." A heavy-looking gold ring flashed as he motioned to Simeon. "Mr. Bennett understands the risks involved. Although on the private side, he’s been working in the criminal justice world for the past decade or so. I say we give him a shot."
The tranquility of the library outside the community room mocked Peyton’s agitation as she stood. "It’s great that he has some experience at—where did you say?—this Department 6, but I’m sure nothing he’s done in the past could prepare him for this. And besides, you think he can handle the job alone?"
Simeon rocked back and gazed up at her with enough cool reserve to make her believe he was already an inmate, but maintained his silence.
"He won’t be alone," Wallace said. "He’ll have your full support, right?"
"You mean what little I can give him from the administration building, right? Once he’s been knifed I can certainly see that he gets medical care, but—"
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