Michael Koryta takes his reader to the vast wilderness of the Montana Mountains where death can come at natures hand at any moment but this time, nature is not the most deadly thing on the mountain:
Jace Wilson is swimming in a quarry when he comes across a dead body where there is no question that the individual has been murdered. While trying to escape the quarry and the body he becomes aware that there are people headed towards him and he witnesses a murder committed by the Blackwell brothers. Jace it put into witness protection, but they need to place him some place special as those who can afford the Blackwell brother's services have fingers in all type of law enforcement. With a new identity Jace is enrolled in a wilderness skill summer program where only the witness protection officer knows he is there. Ethan and Allison Serbin who run the program each summer know why one of the boys is there but have no idea which one he is. Ethan takes the job seriously of protecting the boys, but the Blackwell brothers have no issue with slaughtering people in order to find out where Jace has been hidden. With a trail of bodies behind them they are on their way to Ethan and Allison's ranch and nothing is going to stop them from taking care of Jace or any one else who stands in their way, permanently.
This is the first book that I have read by Kortya, actually I had never even heard of him before this book and I don’t know why. This book was great and a high grade thriller novel with twists and turns that you will not see coming. I know I was surprised more than once throughout Koryta's novel and I did not want to put it down. I like that Koryta has the ability to let his characters questions themselves, get hurt and yes even die off. I always like an author that is able to take risks with his characters and that made me love every minute of this book. Just a great read all around.
The Blackwell brothers are very scary assassins they are the type that you higher when you want something done and have no fear of emotion coming to play into it. That mens everyone is a target for them; men, women, children all are fair game. They are emotionless creatures(?) and the way they would talk in that monotone voice like their victim was not even there just lets you know how serious they are about the wet work that needs to be done and the victim also realizes that there fate has been sealed. The brothers are some of the best killers I think that I have ever read in a book. The way they have their murders planned (or think on the fly), the torture they decide to use, to never being able to look at them both at the same time, they are masters at the art of death. I think the brothers were my favourite part of the book and plot that Koryta wrote.
There are a few main characters in this book therefore, there are multiple points of view throughout the book. The main views are that of Jace Wilson, Ethan and Allison Serbin and later on in the book Hannah Faber. Jace is a 13 year old boy who is trying to be tough but you can tell underneath that he is just a scared boy, but when survival is at hand especially his own survival he tries to think like a man. He does have some 13 year old moments in the book, but he needs to as after all he is just a kid.
Allison Serbin is an one tough lady and the sacrifices that she makes within the book are amazing and I question whether I would be able to be as strong as her. Ethan was an interesting character as he struggled to do what was right not only for Jace but also to protect his wife and often in order to do both they were at odds with each other. He had some hard issues to deal with and you can tell that he is mentally strained by the end of the book by continually trying to do what is right. We don't get to know Hannah too well, but we do get a glimpse to her past and why she is manning the fire station, I think that Hannah is an interesting character but not as developed as the other due to her less page time and really most of her life is based around fire and fighting fire.
This is the first book that I have read by Koryta and I know that it will not be the last. I enjoyed every minute of reading this book and I look forward to discovering his other reads. Really well written, well thought out plot, with twists and turns you will not see coming, as a reader you really cannot ask for more. One of the best thrillers I have read in a long time.