I received an advanced readers copy of this book in exchange for a pre-release review. This is said review.
Bo Lowery and her ten year old son, Caleb live alone in the woods on the outskirts of Fort Garrison, Alaska. Bo is a single parent following the disappearance of her husband, Roy a few years prior. They live completely self sufficiently, living off the land, hunting animals. They use every part of the animal, they eat it's meat, cook it's bones, tan the hide and sell what they don't need to make a modest living.
Bo wants to do the best that she can by her child, unaware that her blinkered upbringing could be leaving the boy withdrawn from society and a little naïve and sheltered. Little does she know that as well as her home schooling, there are several external factors where a boy with a mind like a sponge can learn.
When Rainey Lane, a teenage pop sensation struggling with her own demons, her dog Hottie and bodyguard Darius roll into town to protest the recent wolf cull, an altercation with Bo results in the woman turning up in the middle of the night on Bo's property, drunk and high, colliding her car with nature.
Quickly, situations escalate out of control and Bo is forced to react to protect her family.
This is something new from Ralston, having previously published successful books mainly in the genre of horror; this is his first attempt at a crime thriller.
So, did it work?
You bet your ass it worked. Immediately, the smooth writing style of Ralston pulls you in and you find yourself totally immersed in the world that he creates. His style is assured and confident, he definitely has a strong grasp of the written word, its phenomenally easy to read. The story itself is straightforward, there are no unnecessary plot twists that could potentially over complicate something that doesn't need to be, whilst also lending a clever little nod towards the power of social media.
The characters are realistic and the dialogue is crisp and believable. The main character of Bo is portrayed with real depth, he manages to paint the perfect picture of a woman with a motive of wanting to protect her only child and falling foul of her own self righteousness and warped sense of duty and vengeance.
The story is a slow burn to begin, but I have no problem with that, as the tension builds perfectly throughout the story as other factors begin to come into play. It slowly gains momentum right up to a climax where the reader finds themselves desperate for the reveal of 'whether they will or whether they won't.'
I have read other books by Ralston, and in my opinion, this is equally as good as those. I am a massive fan of thriller's and this taut, atmospheric little number ticked every box. I think he is incapable of writing a bad book.
My rating 5/5