A superb thriller from the acclaimed author of A QUIET BELIEF IN ANGELS.
Orphaned by an act of senseless violence that took their mother from them, half-brothers Clarence Luckman and Elliott Danziger have been raised in state institutions, unaware of any world outside. But their lives take a sudden turn when they are seized as hostages by a convicted killer en route to death row.
Earl Sheridan is a psychopath of the worst kind, but he has the potential to change the boys' lives for ever. As the trio set off on a frenetic escape from the law through California and Texas, the two brothers must come to terms with the ever-growing tide of violence that follows in their wake - something that forces them to make a choice about their lives, and their relationship to one another.
This unpleasant thriller shows British author Ellory (A Quiet Belief in Angels) at far from his best. In California in 1952, when Elliott "Digger" Danziger is six and his half-brother, Clarence "Clay" Luckman, is five, Clay's drunken, enraged father breaks their mother's neck with a baseball bat in front of them before running off forever. In their early teens, Digger and Clay end up in a juvenile correctional facility in Hesperia, Calif., where in 1964 they're taken hostage by a death row inmate, Earl Sheridan. After breaking out, Sheridan takes the boys on a murderous rampage, which triggers a massive manhunt. Horrified by Sheridan's violence, Clay must find a way to stay alive. Innocent bystander after innocent bystander is slaughtered, and whatever sympathy Digger garnered as a result of his traumatic childhood is quickly dissipated. Readers should be prepared for gratuitous bloodshed, heavy-handed foreshadowing, and baroque prose ("Clay knew then that his brother was more than likely lost, and again he questioned the woof and warp of all things").