Lockdown: Escape from Furnace, Book 1
by Alexander Gordon Smith
Beneath heaven is hell.
Beneath hell is Furnace.
So begins the Escape from Furnace series, now complete at five books.
Lockdown is a great ‘guy read,’ full of injustice, desire for revenge, courage, and survival. It’s also full of weird creatures like hell hounds—dogs of muscle and sinew, but no skin—and tormentors with gas masks sewn into the skin of their faces and bandoleers full of dirty hypodermic needles.
Alex lands deep underground in Furnace Penitentiary after he’s convicted of killing his best friend, something he didn’t do. Not that Alex is a good guy. He’s a bully and a thief. But he’s no murderer. Yet in the group of boys who land in Furnace on the same day, the others that Alex meets are also framed. Later, when Alex meets his cellmate, Donovan, he finds that he was convicted of murder because he killed his mother’s boyfriend after he had beaten her one too many times.
Why is this suddenly happening to all these boys?
Furnace is a private company that contracts with the government to house juvenile murderers. It just so happens that after the Summer of Slaughter, people are afraid. They want harsh punishments for teen killers, and they consider those killers as good as dead once they are locked up in Furnace. You, reader, start thinking that there just may be some extra money to be made for the Furnace owners when they can add more guys to the number locked up. But there’s something more, too.
When Lockdown is announced with siren blasts, the skinless dogs are on the loose, and guys are hauled away in the middle of the night. What happens to them? Why are there so many bizarre creatures in Furnace and such nasty food in ‘the Trough?’
Despite all the terrors of Furnace, Alex is a thoughtful guy, one who reflects on how his bullying behavior out in the world is mirrored in Furnace by the roving gangs who torment inmates. This is a can’t-put-it-down page-turner that ends on a cliff hanger. You’ve got to go for this series.