Our November Mystery Book Club selection was Those Who Wish Me Dead by Michael Koryta.
I liked it! I found it to be a very suspenseful. Here's what it is about.
"When fourteen-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he's plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare.
The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him. Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of desolate Montana mountains.
The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind."
As it says, Ethan and Allison run a wilderness survival program in Montana. Their clients are usually troubled teen aged boys. Jamie Bennett approaches Ethan about inserting a boy who they need to hide, into the program for protection. The typical witness protection program is not enough. Ethan will not know which boy it is. He will be using a false name. Ethan agrees.
Ethan sets out with the boys on the trails. He has decided they will move quicker than usual, training the boys for survival as they go. Of course he keeps trying to figure out which boy is the one they are hiding.
Things start going bad. He gets a call that his and Allison's cabin has burned down and she was attacked. The sheriff is dead. It is clear someone is looking for them. Jace sneaks away from the group, not wanting Ethan and the other boys to get hurt. He meets Hannah, a forest fire lookout who had some things happen to her, which play into the story. They set out to get Jace to safety. Ethan tries to track Jace. Oops. The Blackwell brothers are following Ethan who is following Hannah and Jace.
The Blackwell brothers are pretty frightening. They are very strange, smart and ruthless. Truly creepy. These characters are different than other bad guys you have probably read about in a story.
The book is very well written, reads quickly, and a real page turner. There are also great descriptions of the mountains and forest. It was interesting to read about how forest fires are watched for and fought.
Oh, there is quite a twist towards the end. I didn't see it coming...
Our book club leader, Kay, shared an interview with Michael Koryta. After hearing the list of books he has written, what struck me is that he is really young. He has written 12 books, is a former private investigator and newspaper reporter.... He is 34. I am impressed.
All of his books have gotten good reviews. 9 have been optioned for television or film. Those Who Wish Me Dead has been optioned for a film by 20th Century Fox.
If you like suspense and the outdoors, read it. I think you will like it.