Lamar Giles takes readers on a wild and dark ride in this contemporary Witness Protection thriller, perfect for fans of James Patterson, Harlan Coben, and John Grisham.
Nick Pearson is hiding in plain sight. In fact, his name isn't really Nick Pearson. He shouldn't tell you his real name, his real hometown, or why his family just moved to Stepton, Virginia. And he definitely shouldn't tell you about his friend Eli Cruz and the major conspiracy Eli was uncovering when he died. About how Nick had to choose between solving Eli's murder with his hot sister, Reya, and "staying low-key" like the Program said to do.
But he's going to tell you—unless he gets caught first. . . .
This engrossing thriller blends gritty crime storytelling with solid, realistic family drama. "Nick" and his family are in the Witness Protection Program, due to his father's past association with a dangerous crime boss. However, they are continually forced to move and switch identities because of Nick's father's continued criminal ventures. Nick worries that another move will destroy the renewed sense of possibility that he's found through his job on the school paper, his friend Eli, and Eli's attractive sister, Reya. That's before he finds Eli's body and begins to suspect that Eli's death isn't the suicide it's made out to be. Nick's attempts to investigate lead to revelations about the town, his friends, and his family. Giles ably handles multiple themes, not shying away from the racial tension that exists in the small southern town (Nick is African-American, and Eli and Reya are Latino), while avoiding making it a primary focus. This mature crime story expands beyond high school walls to address the challenges of maintaining meaningful relationships and the cost of loyalty. Ages 13 up.