BLOOD HIGHWAY by Gina Wohlsdorf


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A toughened 17-year-old girl is swept up in the exploits of the criminal father she just learned she has in Wohsldorf’s (Security, 2016) thriller.

When the novel opens, Rainy Cain has crafted a persona for herself that even her closest friends believe: She's a high-achieving high school student and athlete whose single mother works long hours as a cancer nurse. The reality, however, is that Rainy lives with her mentally ill mother and fends for herself completely. Rainy’s complicated survival mechanisms, the deep schism between who she is and what people see, and the profound strangeness and violence of life with her mother make her a uniquely compelling character. She has a distinct voice and a dark, dry humor that brings much-needed relief to the extended nightmare she endures. “Cops love acronyms,” she notes parenthetically after an officer recounts that he “ripped out his IV, left the hospital AMA, called the FBI,” and “gave them the VIN.” When Rainy comes home on an otherwise normal Thursday to find her mother dead, her well-crafted persona crumbles. She meets her father, who has escaped from prison and seems to just want to spend time with her. They take to the road. There are robberies, chases, seductions, explosions, car crashes, and murders. Her father is just one of several overly protective men with unclear motives. There is also Blaine, the first officer on the scene when her mother died, who positions himself as her white knight. A love story late in the novel adds more human drama and introduces yet another seemingly well-intentioned man. All this plot outweighs the promising premise. Nonetheless, the fast-paced novel maintains its intensity until the end.

A memorable young protagonist already accustomed to lies and chaos finds new depths to both.

Pub Date: Aug. 7th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-61620-563-8
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Algonquin
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2018


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