John Hutchinson (aka Hutch) and his buddies want nothing more than to escape their less-than-successful lives by going camping in the middle of nowhere up North. After all, angry ex-wives, the unemployment statistic, and an overall depressing atmosphere can’t reach them out in the woods, where even phones are hard to come by. But when Hutch is nearly vaporized by a group of madmen with a powerful toy, it’s clear this wasn’t the vacation they bargained for. When Hutch becomes the protector of a nine-year-old boy, he realizes it’s up to him to save an entire town from sudden death.
This book exceeded expectations. When I received word that the Hutch series would collide with Liparulo’s other adult novels, the Immortal Files, I realized I was going to have to educate myself before his next installment.
Liparulo, a favorite author of mine, really knows how to write a thriller. Somehow he manages to capture all his characters into this crazy life or death situation and the only way to outsmart the bad guys is through wizard genius, instinct, and a pretty rad supply of weapons. For this novel, our hero had bow and arrows. That alone was enough for me to pick up the book.
One of my particularly favorite parts about this story was the relationship between Hutch and Dillon, the nine-year-old boy that fell under Hutch’s responsibility. Divorced and the loser of a custody battle, Hutch longs to have his family whole again, to be a father again. So when Dillon looks to him for guidance, parenting and survival skills team up to become a pretty legit character. Call me sappy, but I love that kind of stuff.
Okay, so I just like kids in action books in general, because Dillon isn’t the only minor that tugged on my emotions. Julian, the young teenager enlisted to help Declan and his evil band of maniacs, clearly didn’t fill out his volunteer card on his own. Despite his reservations to aid in Declan’s criminal activities, the boy has little choice but to go along with it or face merciless wrath–an element that adds even more suspension to the already fast-paced thriller.
Liparulo has always had a very engaging writing style, strengthened with a serious amount of research, this time heavy on the subject of bow hunting and Canadian backwoods. Though, I must find fault and offense on page 411–that he would refer to the hero Link as Zelda in one of his metaphors is just pagan madness.
Regardless, Robert Liparulo’s captivating storytelling has done its job once again through his well-crafted and realistic characters, artful writing style, impending villains, and genius heroism. It should be a movie. It needs to be a movie.
In fact, Robert Liparulo should have his own cinematic universe.
Things to Watch Out For:
Romance: A character is divorced and discusses it with other characters
Language: “God help him” – 1 (p 383)
Violence: Several characters are murdered in varying degrees of brutality. Characters are shot at. Loss of family members and friends. A boy is deliberately cut across the face in front of his mother.
Other: Discussion of video game violence and its impact on the next generation. A character is strongly superstitious.