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Children's Book Reading Challenge...For Adults!

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Koryta Thriller Not Quite Thrilling Enough

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

When 14-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder involving local law enforcement, his family knows it's not safe for him to stay in his hometown.  Violent killers are on the loose—and they're looking for Jace.  Using a false name, he is enrolled in a wilderness survival program for troubled teens.  Off the grid in the Montana mountains, he should be safe while the police hunt down the murderers.  Should be.  

The Blackwell Brothers, a dangerous duo, know their continued freedom depends on the elimination of Jace Wilson.  No matter where he flees, they will find him.  Only three people stand in their way:  Ethan and Allison Serbin, the couple who runs the wilderness survival program, and Hannah Faber, a lonely firefighter who battles her demons from the tower where she watches the forest for flare-ups.  Compared to the Blackwells, it's not much of a defense.  As the murderers come ever closer to Jace's hideout, it's up to him and a trio of unprepared adults to keep them all alive.  But the Blackwells, as everyone knows, never allow witnesses to live ...

Given all the hype surrounding this book, I expected a lot more out of Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta.  I figured it would be an exciting, fast-paced thriller—and it was.  It just wasn't much else.  The characters—with the exception of the Blackwells, who were delightfully unique (in a scary, cold-blooded kind of way)—didn't get developed much in the course of the story.  Plotwise, the novel remained pretty generic.  On the whole, I found the whole thing depressing and disappointing.  I wanted—expected—too much from it, I guess.  Overall, it's an average thriller, entertaining enough, but with few surprises.

(Readalikes:  Although I haven't read the novel versions of these movies, Those Who Wish Me Dead reminded me of The Client [book by John Grisham] and Stand By Me [based on The Body by Stephen King])


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for strong language, violence, and scenes of peril 

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find
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