Troubled twin brothers go from the frying pan into the fire when they encounter a girl who needs their help in the cold wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.
Sixteen-year-old twins Ty and Cory Bic’s father, Benny, was an unstable grifter and a cruel and abusive father, especially hard on overweight, thoughtful Cory. Following Benny’s death in a fire, the boys, who are presumably white, are shuttled to Luster, Oregon, where they find stability with their new foster parents, the Motts, whose powerful patriarch is on the cusp of a Senate run. After stumbling on a damaging secret about Mr. Mott, the boys take off, discovering a wrecked car in the woods with a zip-tied teen girl in the trunk. The driver is nowhere to be found. Cory is left to tend to the seemingly mute girl after being separated from Ty. As her condition worsens and the wolves, human and otherwise, circle the door of their hideout, Cory realizes that the considerable sins of their father are coming back to haunt them. Told in flashbacks and Cory’s tense, present-day narration, Wallenfels’ (Bad Call, 2017, etc.) tightly plotted roller coaster ride features very bad guys doing very bad things and fraught family drama. Aspiring chef and avid gamer Cory is worth rooting for, and his complex relationship with the volatile Ty, plus themes like physical abuse and abuse of power, adds depth.
A hair-raising, explosive thriller. (Thriller. 14-18)