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Reviews of The Ascent by Adam Plantinga

The Ascent

by Adam Plantinga

The Ascent by Adam Plantinga X
The Ascent by Adam Plantinga
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     Not Yet Rated
  • Published:
    Jan 2024, 352 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Peggy Kurkowski
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About this Book

Book Summary

When a high-security prison fails, a down-on-his luck cop and the governor's daughter are going to have to team up if they're going to escape in this "jaw-dropping, authentic, and absolutely gripping" (Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author) debut thriller from Adam Plantinga, whose first nonfiction book Lee Child praised as "truly excellent."

Kurt Argento, an ex-Detroit street cop who can't let injustice go—and who has the fighting skills to back up his idealism.

If he sees a young girl being dragged into an alley, he's going to rescue her and cause some damage.

When he does just that in a small corrupt Missouri town, he's brutally beaten and thrown into a maximum-security prison.

Julie Wakefield, a grad student who happens to be the governor's daughter, is about to take a tour of the prison. But when a malfunction in the security system releases a horde of prisoners, a fierce struggle for survival ensues.

Argento must help a small band of staff and civilians, including Julie and her two state trooper handlers, make their way from the bottom floor to the roof to safety.

All that stands in their way are six floors of the most dangerous convicts in Missouri.

Excerpt
The Ascent

Argento took in the group in front of him. Two men in suits who looked like cops: one Black and middle-aged, with a solid frame; the other younger, white, and lean, with a ratty mustache. Next to them was a skinny guy with graying hair in a cheap brown suit. He looked skittish. Rounding them out was a woman, midtwenties with long brown hair tied back. She came in at about five-seven with a triathlete build and wore a plain gray sweatshirt and running shoes. Not staff, Argento reasoned, because she wasn't wearing any kind of uniform. Then he saw she was holding a notebook. Some kind of tourist. On a tour that had just gone very much awry.

Everyone but Argento started talking at once, Argento's group trying to explain what they had just witnessed and the men in the other camp demanding answers.

"We have a homicide scene we need to lock down in medical," LeMaines said. "Check that, two homicide scenes."

"What? So why isn't ... why aren't you there instead of here?" Brown ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse Review

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The Ascent stands out not just for its ingenious plot—a winning page-turning equation by itself—but for Argento, a complicated man whose fearlessness is merely the mask for his deep, inconsolable pain. Amid chaos, memories of the woman he loved "so fiercely it scared him" come unbidden. Plantinga creates a love story in retrospect that resonates with the reader and makes Argento's glib quips an obvious band-aid for his numbed existence without her. For this epic ascent out of hell and into the heavens, Plantinga channels Dante in Argento's quest for redemption and hope: for Julie, the others and ultimately, himself...continued

Full Review Members Only (705 words)

(Reviewed by Peggy Kurkowski).

Media Reviews

Apple Books Review
Adam Plantinga's debut thriller is a tense journey out of hell on earth, aka a maximum-security prison...Plantinga serves up a master class in suspense. Packed with high-stakes action, The Ascent is a riveting tale of survival and justice.

Best Thriller Books
Brutal, vicious and merciless, The Ascent is a heart-thumping expedition through six levels of nightmare fuel to find salvation. A journey through a wicked hellscape created by Adam Platinga to put his characters through the ultimate test with the vilest evil lurking around every corner.

Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
An action-packed, cinema-ready debut thriller...pulse-pounding, cleverly plotted, fast-paced, expertly made entertainment. A meat-and-potatoes thriller, sure—but they're delicious meat and potatoes.

Publishers Weekly (starred review)
[A] knockout first novel...Plantinga maintains a breakneck pace from start to finish, with end-of-chapter cliffhangers and a devilish narrative structure...Once readers catch their breath, they'll be clamoring for more from this rising star.

Author Blurb Harlan Coben, #1 New York Times bestselling author of I Will Find You
The Ascent is jaw-dropping, authentic, and absolutely gripping.

Author Blurb James Rollins, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Kingdom of Bones
Adam Plantinga's debut thriller, The Ascent, is a nail-biting ride out of Hell itself. It's Dante's Inferno—but with gangs, corruption, bone-breaking brawls, and a kick-ass, determined police officer struggling through it all to save another. It reads with raw authenticity and brutal honesty. Don't miss this debut of a new crime-thriller star!

Author Blurb Lou Berney, Edgar award-winning author of November Road
Damn! I had to hold onto this one for dear life. The Ascent is a ferociously propulsive thriller. Plantinga creates a haunted house of horrors that's utterly convincing, while at the same time keeping the focus on complex, layered, and engaging characters. An outstanding debut crime novel.

Reader Reviews

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Beyond the Book

Infamous Prison Insurrections

In The Ascent, Adam Plantinga imagines what it would be like to climb through six levels of a prison in utter chaos: cell doors opening, guards hiding or dead, inmates murdering each other and so much worse. It does not require fiction, however, to imagine these hellscapes: history has many examples of such mayhem. Below are two of America's deadliest prison uprisings.

Attica, 1971

Protestors hold sign reading Remember AtticaOne of the most famous occurred over five days in September 1971 at the Attica State Correctional Facility in upstate New York. The prison's chronic overcrowding and abysmal living conditions (e.g., once-a-week showers and one roll of toilet paper per prisoner per month, among other indignities) erupted into violence on September 9 when inmates ...

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Read-Alikes

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