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(Bulletproof #1)

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  2,247 ratings  ·  213 reviews
Virgil Skinner served fourteen years for a murder he didn't commit. He's finally been exonerated, but he can't escape the gang he joined in order to survive. They'll do anything to keep him from telling what he knows. And if they can't get to Virgil they'll go after his sister and her kids.

The California Department of Corrections needs someone to infiltrate another gang, o
Paperback, 440 pages
Published June 28th 2011 by Mira Books
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I wasn't sure I would be able to connect to a story involving a prison setting and was even reluctant to try. Well, I got over that after the first couple of chapters.

Quick summary
Virgil Skinner spent 14 years in prison for a murder he didn't commit. He was just exonerated but it comes with strings attached. He's got to go back inside, undercover at another facility, Pelican Bay, to help the Feds dismantle a seriously dangerous gang. Peyton Adams is the prison's chief deputy warden and she's go
Jennifer Lane
Going Back Inside

Thanks to Buggy for recommending this story to me. She knows I'm a fan of prison stories. When I read author Brenda Novak's preamble:

I went to Utah to visit my daughter and she insisted on showing Prison Break to me on DVD. "You'll love it," she said, and she was right. I found the characterization, plotting, acting and dialogue fantastic. I was so captivated, in fact, that I rented every season and watched the whole thing. But, when it was all over, I decided there was one thin
I loved this book, an endless of suspense events piling one after another. I was antsy and on edge through the whole book. Brenda Novak is a true master of suspense, will read more of her works.

I loved Virgil, the tortured hero who was a convict since he was 18. Fourteen years in prison made him a hard man, but his only weakness was his sister and her children. He'd do anything to keep them save, even going back to prison as a snitch.

The mollify of Virgil's hardheartedness was the part I loved
3.5 stars

As I was reading Inside by Brenda Novak, I couldn’t help feeling angry and disdainful. I really didn’t like the characters and I rolled my eyes at some of the situations the main character Peyton Adams found herself in. But something happened on the way to writing this review. The more I thought about the book, the more I liked it.

Inside is an eye-opening commentary on life in an over-crowded prison population, a place that is scarier than anything I’ve ever read before. Initially, I wa
I was apprehensive about starting this book for two reasons, one because the past Brenda Novak I had read hadn't worked for me and two I wasn't sure about a prison romance but well to my surprise I enjoyed the book. The heroine is a corrections officer and four years older than the hero, the hero has been released from prison after fourteen years. He was setup and now has been exonerated but as an angry eighteen year old he joined a gang and those actions had consequences and now to protect his ...more
Jess the Romanceaholic
This is a Quickie Review. For the full review, please visit The Romanceaholic.

Expected Release Date: June 28, 2011
Publisher: Harlequin
Imprint: Mira
Author’s Website:
My Source for This Book: Netgalley
Part of a Series: Yes – Bulletproof Book 1
Series Best Read In Order: N/A
Steam Level: Steamy

Holy wow. This book was absolutely fantabulous!

Pulse-pounding action, police corruption, a spurned lover, and deadly gangs out for revenge, all paired with a delicious romance make thi
Jane Stewart
I did not like this story. It’s a helpless victim feel.

I was depressed for 90% of the book. The last 10% was suspenseful and exciting, but that was not enough to make it worthwhile. The author used too many bad guys to create tension and conflict. Almost everything in the book had a bad guy involved. Some examples follow.

Peyton the heroine has two bad bosses. Twice the warden (her boss) demands she do something that is wrong or against her better judgment. Bad things result. The warden assigns P
♥ Vonda M. Reid ♥
Feb 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Overall Rating: 4.95 // Action: 3 / Emotion: 5 / Romance: 4 / Sensuous: 2 / Suspense: 5 // Laughter: 0 / Teary: 1

Some books just reach deep into your heart and grab hold of your senses and will not let go. Inside, the first book in The Bulletproof Series, by Brenda Novak is one of those books. ♥ Loved ♥ this book! So many things were right about this book. The unique story line. The strong emotional pull. The insight into the psyche of the characters. The amazingly incredible build up of so much
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dnf, 2013
DNF a little more than halfway through. The story had potential - could have been a real blockbuster for me, but Peyton I just could not stand. Her liberal views on rehabilitation for convicts were admirable, and I agreed with some of them, but let's face it that not ALL convicted criminals are able to be productive members of society again. Especially gang members. I understood where she was coming from (her father) but again - her father BROKE THE LAW, good intentions or not.

Virgil was what h
Remember Prison Break? If not, I highly recommend you binge watch it (season 1 is amazing and some of season 2). This book reminded me of PB but with a bit more romance! My first Brenda Novak book - I've been in the mood for Romantic Suspense and I really enjoyed it. I would certainly read more books by this author. If any friends have some to recommend, let me know!

Meanwhile, watch Prison Break!!

Mrs. Badass
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
This book captivated me from the very start. My first Brenda Novak novel, and if all her other books are as good as this one, I will be starting her back list right away!

I haven't read a prison novel quite like this one before. Our hero, Virgil spent 14 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit. After his exoneration, he is "recruited" for an inside job as an informant on gang issues at Pelican Bay given his extensive background in prison and a member of "The Crew".

Peyton, our heroine is a C
Manda Collins
Oct 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of Mariah Stewart, Cynthia Eden, Karen Rose
4.5 stars: I did not expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. I expected it to be a book-long view of prison from the inside. Instead what I got was the story of two unlikely lovers who would never even have met if the hero hadn't been wrongfully convicted of his step-father's murder. Virgil Skinner (which, hello, is NOT a sexy hero name, but grew on me over the course of the book) has emerged from fourteen years of prison with his sense of decency intact. And he is willing to go back inside ...more
Just a quick review... I'm just about to review the second and third books in this series and wanted to do them justice.

I really enjoyed this one. Great characters, incredibly strong plot, connected together by a strong dose of realism. You can tell this author did her homework on the subject of gangs in prisons, but it's not an overwhelming data dump.

Quite often I find "top authors" a bit disappointing. It can feel like they're churning out their one (or two) books a year and they're just twi
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
Another great novel by a great author. Read my full review ...more
Narrator: Angela Dawe

I couldn't turn the audio off, which meant only one hour or so sleep but TGIF. Very suspenseful. Gripped me from start to finish. However, I am not inclined to give it 5 stars because there was something about Peyton's characterization that did not sit right with me. I was very uneasy about the way she let Wallace's overtures go without telling him straight off they weren't welcome or appropriate. Even though only the reader is to privy
Mar 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ebook-arc
When I begin reading this ARC from Netgalley, I was skeptical of ever coming to like the main male character, Virgil. It takes a special author to be able to create a character who has been an active member of a notorious prison gang for most of his adult life and make me come to believe he is a worthy hero of a romantic suspense novel. Novak was able to do this, much to my surprise. I liked the main female character, Peyton, from the beginning. She was a strong and caring character. I found thi ...more
Kelly Moran
May 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-reviews
It was a horrible experience that jump-started New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Brenda Novak's career-- she caught her daycare teacher drugging her children to get them to sleep. Deciding she needed to work from home, she penned her first novel, and has been a household sensation ever since. Other titles include: Trust Me, Watch Me, Stop Me, Dead Silence, Dead Giveaway, Dead Right, The Perfect Couple, The Perfect Murder, The Perfect Liar, and Mother, Please. She also heads an annu ...more
Annie (Under the Covers Book Blog)
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Romantic Suspense fans
Recommended to Annie (Under the Covers Book Blog) by: The Book Vixen
This is the first book of Novak’s that I have read and I was really impressed by it. Since it is Romantic Suspense, I won’t be spilling any secrets of what goes on in this book. You’ll have to see for yourself. Rich details are what makes this book stand out. There’s no doubt that a lot of research went into this book and I’m sure many readers will come to appreciate this book as I have. For me, it was the characters that stood out so I’ll talk a little about each of my favourites:

Virgil Skinner
Leslie D. Soule
Jul 01, 2013 rated it it was ok
Shelves: romance
Chief Deputy warden Peyton Adams is put in charge of a sting operation, due to rising gang activity at Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City, California. The man going "inside" is former gang member and 14-year convict Simeon Bennett, aka Virgil Skinner. The two form a, um..."relationship" if you can call it that.
Simeon Bennett/Virgil Skinner is a truly frightening character - one who reminded me all too much of my ex-boyfriend, which is a credit to the realism that Brenda Novak has invoked,
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jacqueline J
I really enjoyed this romantic suspense. I have a particular fondness for ex-con books. I enjoyed how he was multifaceted. He was basically a good man who had made some bad choices but who was trying to go straight. I liked his vulnerability. The story was full of tense situations and the plot made sense. I dropped this from 5 stars because for me the ending was a bit weak. It ended while the hero and heroine were apart with someone else saving the heroine. I always feel like the two main charac ...more
Sep 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I Fell Hard for Virgil
Virgil Skinner served a fourteen year prison sentence for a murder he didn't commit. He was eighteen when he went in - little more than a child. He quickly learned to do what he needed to do to survive.

Full exoneration is all well and good, if fourteen years overdue, and walking away from the pen is all Virgil ever wanted, but he knows - knows - what will happen to him on the outside, what will happen to his sister and her two children if he doesn't do something, because h
Agnes (BeaderBubbe)
Virgil Skinner in jail for something he didnt do. Now exonerated and set free only to be put in a position where he is placed in jail again in order to get info on a rival gang Doing this will keep his sister and her family safe. But they arent safe and needed to be placed in protective custody until Virgil is done. Making it more complicated is Virgil's involvement with the Chief Deputy Warden Peyton Adams.

This book keeps you turning the pages as all Novak's books do. And of course I have star
Andrea Corley
What an excellent beginning to the Virgil Skinner series! I'm very interested to see where this exonerated ex-con goes with his life! And Peyton can you just not love that character? This was a good look into the prison system and how gangs infiltrate and takeover!

I don't know that I've found a Brenda Novak book that I haven't liked so when this one popped up, I just had to have it! I guess now I have yet another new series to follow, but I am excited to see where it goes!
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Looooved this!!! Action packed!
Apr 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Review originally posted here:

Publisher: MIRA
Publish Date: June 28th
How I got this book: NetGalley

This was my first Novak read, and I have to admit that I’m a little disappointed no one demanded I read her sooner. I really loved this book!

Peyton is the second in command at Pelican Bay prison, and the gang problems are escalating to the point that a judge was murdered. An investigation is started, and a top secret operation is established, one in which an
Marcela (BookaholicCat)
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
This review is also published at

Inside is the first book of the new trilogy The Bulletproof by Brenda Novak.

Virgil Skinner has had a very tough life. He has served fourteen years in prison for a crime he didn’t committed. During those years he did what was necessary to survive in a prison, like joining a dangerous gang called The Crew. Now that he has been acquitted of all counts he wants to live a normal and quiet life, but being a member The Crew is a lifetime comm
Jul 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Review posted: Happily Ever After - Reads

Virgil’s just been released from prison after serving years for a crime he didn’t commit. Only now, he’s heading back in to help get inside information on a gang killing in return for protection for his sister and her kids. When Virgil was first in prison, he joined up with a gang for one reason, survival. Now that gang knows something’s going on since Virgil’s been exonerated and he’s worried about the gang retaliating against his family. He agrees to th
Judy & Marianne from Long and Short Reviews
The stakes are high. To protect his family, Virgil makes a deal with the cops to help bring down a dangerous gang. He has everything to lose, and nothing to gain. He knows very well the dangers of this operation, and that he could very well not come out of this alive. He's got one shot to get this right.

Enter Peyton Adams, a stubborn, strong willed woman -- and the chief deputy Warden. Her first reaction to Virgil wasn't a good one, though she can't figure out her attraction to the ex-con, eith
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Lorelei James & O...: * Brenda Novak - Bulletproof series 324 26 Jul 28, 2015 02:52PM  

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It was a shocking experience that jump-started Brenda Novak’s bestselling author career.

“I caught my day-care provider drugging my children with cough syrup and Tylenol to get them to sleep while I was away,” Brenda says. “It was then that I decided that I needed to do something from home.”

However, writing was the last profession she expected to undertake. In fact, Brenda swears she didn’t have a

Other books in the series

Bulletproof (3 books)
  • In Seconds (Bulletproof, #2)
  • In Close (Bulletproof, #3)

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