When the Dragon Roars Book Review

Brimming with twists, turns, and non-stop drama, When The Dragon Roars by Nesly Clerge is a thriller ideal for any fan of prison-noir.

When The Dragon Roars opens with the protagonist, Frederick Stark, a.k.a The Dragon, at the nadir of his life. Having been betrayed by his ex-wife Kayla, a life one fraught with opportunities is now exceedingly limited. He is in jail, serving an extended sentence for placing the man who cuckholded him in a coma. But Starks is not one to let life get him down that easily-using the acumen that he had acquired as a CEO, he boldly, yet subtly, begins an attempt at ascension of the prison hierarchy. But things start to look hairy when the prison COs suspect him of the two inside job murderers-which he did have a heavy hand in executing.

On the outside, he looks to his private investigator Michael Parker to manage his financials, and that need for a link to the real world becomes even greater as suspicions rise about his deadly activities behind bars. A medical scare only increases his desire to rise to the top and get his affairs in order. But it also seems to make him bolder, as he is able to stab some nastier prison gang members with a poisoned shank, as an act of retaliation for killing a follower prisoner.

With the help of his cellmate Jackson, Starks starts to recruit gang members of his own: Pete, Tommy, Stinky, and Tank. But the gang hostility escalates quickly, and after a brawl, Starks is sent to the SHU, where he has time to contemplate: how got himself in prison in the first place, the women in his life, plans for the future. Also while in the SHU, Stark realizes that his situation is getting more precarious as he is losing protection from the guards. To get more of an advantage, he and his crew turn to the prison black market, and start trading cell phones.

A few days later, Starks meets the elder Gabe Bianchi, who similarly has lost wealth, family, and career reputation. He feels drawn to the Bianchi, but Bianchi is bad news-the former boss of an infamous crime family with a reputation for ruthlessness. He’s a dangerous friend to make, but one who could also prove to be useful.

Meanwhile, Starks nineteen-year-old new inmate Kane under his wing and asks him to be his new cellmate. But Kane may not be entirely who he seems.

All this time, Starks’s health has only been deteriorating. He goes to the hospital and discovers that he has a dangerously low hemoglobin level and is severely anemic. In the process of finding a donor, discovers that his eldest son, Blake, isn’t his biological child. It’s seems like the blows just keep coming from his ex-wife Kayla.

From there, gang fights and family secrets emerge from every corner, keeping Starks on his toes, and the reader turning the pages.

While at times a bit hackneyed and predictable, When The Dragon Roars will prove an enjoyable read for devoted fans of the genre.


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