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Green River Rising

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  927 ratings  ·  59 reviews

On the day Dr. Ray Klein wins his parole, the disciplinary perfection of Green River Penitentiary in Texas is torn apart by riot - more a tribal war - of unimaginable ferocity. As the inmates take over, the River sucks all inside further toward the abyss. Klein must choose. He must either claim his freedom and abandon his friends and the woman he loves to die, or he must r

Mass Market Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 1st 1995 by Avon Books (first published 1994)
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I love, love, love Tim Willocks. I've read The Religion at least 5 times and finally have gotten my hands on another one of his books and I'm not disappointed. It is a 180 from The Religion but that's okay. Same argument as The Historian and The Swan Thieves. Two different books by the same author. Good deal. It's said this is the best prison story ever and I tend to agree. Mr. Willocks, a psychiatrist by day is nothing if not intense. No holds barred and nothing is ever held back. He is into re ...more
As this novel opens, Green River State Penitentiary is a pot of hatred and violence about to boil over. It’s run by a megalomaniacal, unstable warden and packed with four cell blocks of angry men waiting for their chance to lash out--in short, not a place anyone in their right mind would want to be. Unfortunately, our hero Ray Klein is stuck in the middle of it, imprisoned on a false rape charge and with only days left to go on his sentence. When things go critical Klein is prevented from simply ...more
Nov 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Green River Rising is about a prison riot. It is violent, tough, has plenty of tension, a menacing atmosphere and great characters.

It also happens to be my all time favourite five star book.

It is the book I will never forget and the book that changed my life.

Green River Rising was published in 1994 when I was 20 years old. I had not read a work of fiction for years. Reading books for enjoyment?!? Are you crazy? I had read books in my youth but not any more. Books are boring!

I was (and still am)
Rebecca McNutt
I liked Green River Rising but it was too melodramatic in many of the chapters for me. I don't mind some drama in thrillers but when it reaches the level of drama that a high school vampire romance novel has, that's not such a good thing in my view. The characters also didn't have much personality to them.
Michael Jecks
May 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
One of those books you start and cannot put down. Willocks has a fabulous skill of getting inside the head of his protagonists and writing visceral, brutally realistic stories. I'd recommend this with the rider that it is violent and the language is the language of prisoners in a very unpleasant prison. Having said that, it's well worth the read.
Nathan Flamank
Oct 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every year or so I return to this epic novel, it reminds me of what a book can achieve. Willocks' tale of a prison riot is brutal and uncompromising with a story that will shock and hold the reader in its grasp. Never has a story held such power over me. Without a doubt one of the best books of the last 30 years: powerful and thought provoking. An example of the perfect novel.
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
La letteratura di libri ambientati in carcere è piena: spesso lo scrittore è un ex detenuto che racconta la propria esperienza diretta sotto forma di biografia, o romanzo,. A volte lo scrittore è 'solo' uno scrittore, che magari ha fatto lunghe ricerche. Qualunque sia il caso è indubbio che il 'tema' (per le caratteristiche del carcere, struttura chiusa e vissuta solo da detenuti, secondini e poco altro) interessa e in qualche modo affascina.

Il risultato purtroppo è che, anche quando ben scritt
Jan 05, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Non saprei esattamente, se me lo chiedessero, se consigliare o meno la lettura di questo libro. A tratti bello ed entusiasmante con l'ambientazione carceraria riprodotta molto bene, a tratti troppo prolisso e di scrittura ricercata che è al di fuori dell'ambientazione stessa e dunque e mal si mescola con la trama e a tratti decisamente fuori dalle righe per via: della profusione di sesso (quel troppo che stroppia e che risulta alla fine in alcuni personaggi come quello della dottoressa Devlin, i ...more
Jan 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
If all you were to do was to skim read it might be easy to see why it is that those who criticize this extraordinary novel for being clichéd: for portraying the inmates as brutal, brutalized, racist, sexist, homophobic: for demeaning whites and for ennobling blacks, Hispanics, Latinos etc., do so. However, a closer reading would find that this was far from the truth. I suspect those making the criticism haven't been within a hundred miles of the kind of institution upon which the Green River Sta ...more
Joanne Parkington
Aug 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This book is superb .. i was torn between not being able to put it down & forcing myself to slow down as i didn't want it to finish ... From the first chapter a knot of anxiety grew in my stomach and i felt a dreadful sense of foreboding, something terrible is about to happen in Green River. I've seldom read a book that paint's such a detailed description of it's setting that not only could i see the prison but i could smell it's sweat-soaked malice & taste it's rancid misery. I was frig ...more
Jag Garcia
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first "met" Tim Willocks when I picked up a copy of The Religion at a book sale to read on the bus from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore.

I enjoyed The Religion A LOT. So when I got a chance to pick this up I was looking forward to one of his other works.

It's an interesting tale, set in a high-security prison in the middle of nowhere. I enjoyed the characters as well as the storytelling.

It seems a bit convenient, though, that the series of events that set off the story happen just when our main charac
Patrick O'Neil
Jan 10, 2012 rated it liked it
Tim Willocks' Green River Rising, a prison novel, begins bogged down in overly descriptive language, a little too "flowery" and odd when given the subject matter. However I sloshed through the initial first chapter and wadded into the Willocks' imaginary penitentiary. He nails a few characters. He picks up on some prison idioms. He falls prey to some clichés. And righteously blows it with shit that just doesn't ring true – yet in the end he has a compelling story. And other than miserably destro ...more
Aleia Garcia
Sep 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I found this book by chance more than ten years sgo when I was browsing a bookstore. I thought the title was interestingg (the Spanish translation) and bought it.

I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading it, ssince I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

The story is simple enough, a man is about to be released from prison and the day he gets the parole there is a riot. With this simple premise what we get is a gritty story about the motivation dribing desperate me, violence, bloo
Nov 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just in case you were unsure, you DO NOT want to be in an old East Texas prison run by a madman when there's a race riot. Really.

Fascinating book, compelling hero, badass heroine, and a cast of characters all motley and mean and flawed and depraved and surprising. Green River Rising is claustrophobic and filthy and violent, but I loved it. Incredible writing.
Apr 23, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This is an amazing book- just brilliant. Dr. Ray Klein is a wrongly convicted man on the verge of parole from Green River State Pen. in Texas when the prisoners suddenly riot, leaving him trapped inside. Willocks description of life in prison is vivid and his characters are well thought out. This is an intense, fast-paced read. It's graphic at times and not for the faint-of-heart.
John Wiltshire
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant novel. Set in an American prison the story follows the events during a riot. It's the most thought-provoking novel I've read for a long and will haunt me for a long time to come.
Paul White
Started well and then slid into what seemed to be a very bad action film script. Undoubtedly written with one eye on Hollywood.
Raegan Butcher
Apr 12, 2008 rated it liked it
Excellent potboiler about a prison riot in Texas. Great cast of characters, truly despicable villains and a complex hero with serious moral questions and no easy answers. Very authentic and brutal.
Mary Heron
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An amazing read

I first read this book over twenty years ago and when I saw it for sale on kindle i had to buy it again. I have lost count of how many copies of Green River Rising I have bought over the years (at least six) and every time somebody has borrowed it not to return it. I'd like to see them do that now, ha ha. I found this an amazing read twenty+ years ago and it's still amazing, it doesn't feel dated at all, the characters are still amazing the action well paced. You will be on the ed
Jun 07, 2017 rated it did not like it
"Gripping from the start and holding to the end". "The best thriller since 'The Silence of the Lambs'." Not for me. Unfortunately, the book fluctuates between describing raunchy, brutal scenes in prison to pondering philosophically on the injustices of the American judicial system. Definitely not one of my favorite books. I could not find where the author did his research for this book. He is a British (not American) physician who has been a pediatrician, a surgeon, and a psychiatrist treating a ...more
Jul 21, 2018 rated it liked it
A thriller about a prison in East Texas whose prison population is ready to blow up with racial tension. The warden is bipolar and has stopped taking his medication, and in his mania, decides to help the tension along a little bit, causing the prison to explode into a riot.
Andy Todd
Dystopian sci-fi prison thriller.
Lectrice Hérétique
J’ai été subjuguée par La religion, charmée par Doglands, et je suis scotchée par Green River. Aussi noir et dense que La religion, Green River transpire la haine, le courage, l’amour, le désespoir et l’espérance. Willocks nous offre un échantillon de ce que l’Humanité peut faire de pire, et de meilleur. Il ne nous épargne pas beaucoup de détails et nous plonge sans hésitation dans l’univers suintant d’une prison peuplé de personnages hauts en couleur. Les relations entre détenus, la soumission ...more
Aug 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011, crime
The constrains of a prison novel limit the locations, but Tim Willocks manages to wring a decent amount of tension out the situation portrayed here.

One of my gripes surrounds the "invincibility" of certain characters (not the lead characters) who seem to cling to life despite greater and greater harm being inflicted upon their person.

By the very nature of the story you get a sense of who will and won't survive the riot, but there are some twists and turns along the way which make for an interest
Jul 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Green River Rising is still one of my all-time favourite books - except I always forget it when asked what I love to read.

At root, it's the story of a prison riot. Alongside that, though, there's a kind of romance, a mad prison governor, and a band of *very* unlikely heroes.

It's the way the story is told that really makes it, though. There's a clear distinct new voice (well, new at the time it was written) who makes the entire thing shine, in a similar way to what Seth Morgan did with "Homeboy".
Martina Sartor
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
Noi che ci siamo creduti il fine ultimo della creazione.
Un libro duro, crudo, violento, amaro, ma che alla fine mi lascia con una riflessione profonda su questa frase che nell'edizione italiana dà il titolo al romanzo. Quanti di noi si credono davvero il fine ultimo della creazione, il centro dell'universo, mentre invece facciamo tutti parte "del cieco caos della materia" da cui siamo usciti?
Anche stavolta Willocks mi ha dato una gran bella lettura.
Un action thriller ambientato durante una sanguinosa sommossa carceraria, come si può non apprezzare questo romanzo di Willocks? Il fine ultimo della creazione è molto crudo, violento e giustamente (visti i protagonisti) sopra le righe. Uniche pecche un finale un po' troppo sbrigativo e certi personaggi monodimensionali (vedi lo stupratore psicopatico); per il resto lettura veloce e divertente.
Jan 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este libro me abrió los ojos, y tanto, que lo leí dos veces. Seguidas. Y pensar que me lo encontré de casualidad, en oferta, y lo compré porque me gustó la tapa y me "tincó"... Un médico condenado (¿injustamente?¿de verdad?), un tipo básicamente decente, metido hasta las orejas en un motín carcelario.
Oct 18, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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Oct 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Green River Rising is a very good book, although not a very accurate portrayal of an East Texas prison or prison life. Having worked in an prison in that region (and being in a riot or two) I had to look past the glorified notions of what one sees in the movies and reads in books, but other than that it was a very enjoyable book.
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