Reviewed by Hayes aka Haute Librarian
The future has arrived, and teen gangs are ruling the streets. Due to major carnage during the "Summer of Slaughter," authorities have cracked down and opened Furnace Penitentiary, a prison set deep underground for the worst teen offenders, where they will never see the light of day again.
Alex Sawyer is sentenced to Furnace after being convicted of murdering his best friend, Toby. Alex says over and over again that he did not kill Toby, but his protests fall on deaf ears, even though it's the truth.
Alex descends into Furnace, a prison hewn out of rough rock. He immediately notices the weak are prey and the strong will live, as the prison gang threatens his life and his new cellmate, Donovan, educates him on how to survive.
There is more to fear than the prison gangs, or the slop called food served in the cafeteria. There are the black suits - enormous, hulking men with silvery-sheened eyes and shark-like grins who guard the prison. There are the wheezers - twisted, malformed creatures in leather overcoats, their faces obscured by gas masks literally stitched to their skin. And there is the bloodwatch - an eerie red light that will suddenly wash over the prison cells in the dead of night, letting the inmates know the wheezers are coming for one of them.
Alex struggles to hold on to his humanity, his sanity, and his hope that he will survive Furnace, even if survival means hatching an impossible scheme that could kill him.
LOCKDOWN is one of the best books I have read this year! Smith's debut of the ESCAPE FROM FURNACE series keeps the reader fascinated from the first page; this is the first of a fantastic series!