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The 5th Page
The 5th Page
C.R. Downing
Reviewed By Daniel Foster


Official Apex Reviews Rating:  



Ever since the War on Drugs kicked into high gear in the 70s, police departments all across America – particularly those in major metropolitan cities – have struggled with violent gangs of drug traffickers. Adding to those struggles has been the corruption of officers and task force members who, rather than focus on taking down drug cartels and their surrogates, ensure their protection by thwarting the efforts of law enforcement, at a price. Needless to say, the anti-drug crusade in America continues to fall far short of its lofty goals.

This is the central premise of The 5th Page, by author C.R. Downing. Based on a true story, Downing’s compelling tale highlights the efforts of former police lieutenant Phil Mamba as he strives to take down a deadly drug syndicate. Now a private detective, Mamba works his trusted sources to compile a comprehensive list of known drug traffickers; however, when the police department uses the list to prepare a summary report of its activities, information about police officers and task force agents working the case leaks out, prompting the syndicate to launch an all-out assault on the officers and their families. Mamba soon finds himself risking his own life not only to plug the leak, but also stop the bloodshed before too many innocent lives are lost.

Coming in just shy of 700 pages, one would think The 5th Page stretches a bit too long for the casual reader; however, just the opposite is true. Combining well-developed, unforgettable characters – Mamba chief among them – and a thoroughly researched, meticulously crafted tale, The 5th Page is both informative and entertaining, which adds to its page-turning appeal. Downing proves himself a masterful storyteller as he mixes fact and fiction in seamless fashion, throwing in just enough action and suspense to keep the reader hooked until the very end.

We’ve all seen the movies, documentaries, and other offerings about drug lords and their deadly ways, but The 5th Page brings such fantastical reality to vivid life, as we witness the lasting impact of extreme violence on the lives of the innocent and their families. The fight for truth and justice may often be fatal, but throughout the pages of his harrowing tale, Downing shows why it’s also absolutely necessary.

A highly recommended read.