Agents of the state murdered his wife and took his son. Now they’re coming for Danny Ash.
Framed as a terrorist, the mild-mannered stay-at-home dad, desperate to find his child, has to evade both law enforcement and killers in the pay of shadowy vulture capitalist Victor Fabian, whose influence reaches deep into the White House. Fabian, battling political enemies and the creeping dementia that has him in its grip, is determined to silence Ash who has linked him to his wife’s murder. As he tracks his son through an American heartland scarred by poverty and opioid addiction, Ash has to confront a dark secret from his past even as he fights to save the boy’s life.
Stay-at-home dad Danny Ash, the hero of this uneven thriller from Rayburn (The Truth Itself), has a ton of woes. His wife, Jane, recently died under mysterious circumstances while working on a project in China, and his 10-year-old son, Scooter, hasn't said a word since. One morning at Ash's Seattle home, Scooter's babysitter drugs the boy and lets in "a scrum of men in dark clothes"; they kidnap Scooter, but they want Ash. Ash escapes, but sinister forces ensure that his name and face are all over Fox News, where an anchor calls him a "fugitive terror suspect." Ash is really a pawn in a game of high-stakes intrigue centered on Jane's boss, a "vulture capitalist" who profits from "warfare and disaster and debt and deprivation." This unremittingly grim and violent novel offers a dystopian view of contemporary society replete with fake news, economic strife, opioid addition, and terrorism but it's not suspenseful. The narrative is so overstuffed with backstories and subplots that the story of Ash trying to rescue Scooter is almost lost. Fans of action-packed, cinematic thrillers will best appreciate this one.