A Canadian teacher and rancher, author of Cowboys Don't Cry, neatly links four narrative threads in a suspense-filled novel about two 15-year-old boys' reconciliation with their parents. Red's authoritarian Dad, a cop, centers his life on visits to Red's older brother, Greg, lost in a drug-induced coma; he expects Red to take Greg's place as family achiever. Lance loves his rancher father in spite of his occasional harsh punishments. When Lance's mother, Anne-Marie, seeks custody after a 10-year absence, Lance comes unhinged: he had made peace with her memory by believing her dead; instead, she's a successful country music singer. Acting out, he gets involved with drug-dealing Randy. In a hair-raising sequence, Randy kidnaps both boys, they overpower him, and Red gets the wounded Lance to a hospital. Meanwhile, the boys' solid friendship has been tested and strengthened by a series of tough choices, and Red's father has helped him make one of the toughest. Realizing that ""if you love something, let it go. [It's yours only] if it comes back,"" Anne-Marie leaves Lance with his father. Although swift-paced and action-filled, this is not a simplistic thriller. The issue of corporal punishment and the subtleties of trust and anger in loving relationships are thoughtfully handled.