When Jace Wilson accidentally witnesses a brutal murder, his life is changed forever. An ordinary teenager growing up in Indiana, Jace is suddenly forced into the Witness Protection Program and given a new name and history. Taken in by a couple ho run a wilderness program for young boys, Jace finds himself hiking through the Montana mountains, tortured by his memories and by the fear that he'll never be safe again.
The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are two of the most heinous criminals the country has ever known. Jace was the one person to catch them in the act, and he slipped through their fingers. Now they've tracked him down and are making their way across the country, ruthlessly slaughtering anyone who gets in their way.
A lack of morally complex characters facing tough ethical choices makes this fast-paced thriller a lesser effort for Edgar finalist Koryta (The Prophet). At an abandoned quarry in Indiana, 13-year-old Jace Wilson, who's just jumped into the quarry's pool, sees two men in police uniform cut a man's throat and toss him into the water. The killers chase Jace after finding his clothes, but he manages to escape. Jamie Bennett, a former U.S. Marshal, places Jace in the care of a friend of hers, survival trainer Ethan Serbin, who takes him along on a wilderness training program that he runs for troubled youths in Montana, though Ethan doesn't know which of the seven boys he'll be instructing needs witness protection. Inevitably, the two creepy killers get on Ethan's trail. For someone as smart as Ethan is supposed to be, he fails to anticipate an obvious move on the part of the killers, leading to the first of several developments that many readers will view as contrived.