One of America's most acclaimed suspense writers now serves up a bracingly original nail-biter that takes us deep into the rugged terrain of the Utah mountains.
Sherry Carrigan O'Toole can't seem to apply the prescriptions she offers in her bestselling self-help books to her own life. Six years after her marriage to Brandon disintegrated and he won custody of their son, Scott, there's no room in their lives for her. Hoping to win back the teenager's heart, Sherry arranges a week's skiing at the plush SkyTop Village resort.
But Scott has other plans. Determined to evade his mother's clutches, he jumps at the chance to join a foolhardy adventure: flying a Cessna through a nighttime storm to Salt Lake City for a Metallica concert. After the plane crashes, Scott is lost and alone in the frozen wilderness, miles from anywhere anyone would search for him.
As Brandon and Sherry revisit the old battles that tore them apart, they have to fight a bureaucracy that wants to abandon the search even as their son struggles to survive impossible odds.
Barely alive, Scott finally finds a cabin for shelter. He thinks his troubles are over. When he discovers the truth about the man who lives there, however, it's clear that his terror has hardly begun.
With his latest page-turner, John Gilstrap cements his position among today's most ingenious thriller writers.
Suspense veteran Gilstrap (Even Steven) falls back on one of his familiar themes young person in peril for this rousing, if hokey, adventure set in Utah's Wasatch Mountains. Scott O'Toole, the teenage son of celebrity shrink Sherry O'Toole, goes down in a small plane in the snow-covered backcountry while en route to Salt Lake City. As Scott struggles to stay alive, mom and dad long-divorced bicker over who's at fault for their son's disappearance. The local authorities, meanwhile, launch only a halfhearted search; the U.S. president is scheduled to stop in later in the week for a special environmental event, and most resources have been sidelined to prepare for the visit. Scott finally straggles up to a remote cabin, only to find it inhabited by a heavily armed, twitchy man named Isaac DeHaven. Pressured by Scott to explain the presence of two dead bodies on the property, Isaac acknowledges he's a professional hitman. Scott conceals his panic and manages to plot his escape and return to safety. But then he gets to thinking: DeHaven's a hit man and the president's coming to town. Gilstrap's plot rolls along with the momentum of an avalanche, culminating in a well-executed finale on the ski slopes. Yet his characters drop some feeble lines ("it's so unfair," observes Scott of his crisis), and Scott seems oddly cool under pressure for a boy of 15. Still, Gilstrap shows once again that he knows how to provoke an armchair adrenaline rush. 5-city author tour.