AT ALL COSTS by John Gilstrap


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Mr. and Mrs. Middle America take it on the lam from an army of law enforcers when a routine check reveals that they’re high on the Most Wanted list. Fifteen years ago, newlyweds Jake and Carolyn Donovan worked for Enviro-Kleen, a firm whose scrubbing of a gas-laden army ammunition plant touched off what came to be known throughout the nation as the Newark Incident, a catastrophe that left all 16 of their co-workers dead and hundreds of square miles of the Arkansas countryside contaminated with radioactive waste. The sole survivors, the Donovans, were promptly branded ecoterrorists responsible for the holocaust, and promoted to the top of the FBI’s dance card. Only the money and help provided by the one-man Witness Protection Program run by Carolyn’s uncle, ruthless Chicago developer Harry Sinclair, allowed them to escape the feds and reemerge as Jake and Carolyn Brighton. Now, as they hustle their dazed son Travis, 13, out of his school and off to the storage locker they’ve had stocked with food and weapons and transport and new identity papers, they insist to the boy that they never did anything wrong; every scrap of evidence against them was planted. By now, readers of Gilstrap’s sizzling debut novel, Nathan’s Run (1996), will have realized that he’s recycled the same plot--the innocent on the run from massive, untrustworthy forces of authority--but pumped everything up (beginning by substituting an entire family for the solitary child) by making it bigger, faster, noisier, and longer. Especially longer. Before they’ve finally vindicated themselves--not a big surprise, since in scene after scene everybody gets shot but them--Jake and Carolyn have tracked the Newark Incident to the very highest levels of the government, and Gilstrap has ingeniously twisted his simple premise six ways from Sunday. Does for families what Nathan’s Run did for preteens--puts them through endless rounds of entertainingly action-packed pursuit. (Film rights to Arnold Kopelson)

Pub Date: June 16th, 1998
ISBN: 0-446-52315-1
Page count: 464pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1998


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