Still battered from the car crash that took her mother’s life, Jess is sent to live in the remote Canadian wilderness with Carl, the father she barely remembers— and then he’s murdered.
Carl’s lessons in living off the grid (no phone, electricity, or running water) and hesitant attempts at connecting with Jess end abruptly when associates from his unsavory past arrive to collect money he doesn’t have. Hiding with Carl’s dog, Bo, Jess watches her dad ask for more time. Instead, Raph, the leader, shoots Carl. Burying him with the mysterious crate he’s safeguarded for them, they burn the cabin and fly off. Only Carl’s friend Griff, who flew her in, knows Jess is there, but he won’t return for a year. With brains and ingenuity compensating for her physical weakness, Jess finds shelter, makes fire, and feeds and protects herself and Bo. Yet small mistakes, moments of inattention, nearly prove lethal. Raph might return for the crate, and winter’s approaching. To obtain ammunition for Carl’s rifle, Jess makes a desperate but pivotal decision. Presumably white, as are other characters, Jess is believable, her setbacks realistic, her successes earned. She is on a solitary journey—a quest not for treasure but for survival—that demands all her strength, each day a test of endurance, patience, and hope.
A taut, gripping page-turner with a strong female hero to root for. (Thriller. 12-17)