Deadfall by Stephen Wallenfels
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Twin brothers Ty and Cory Bic are on the run. When they encounter a dying deer in the middle of a remote mountain road with fresh tire tracks swerving down into a ravine, they know they have to help. But when they reach the wrecked car the vehicle appears empty, with signs that the driver escaped.
Until they hear a sound coming from the trunk.
Ty and Cory are escaping demons of their own. But what they discover in the trunk puts them in the crosshairs of something darker and more sinister than their wildest nightmares.
Told through a gripping, lightning-fast narrative that alternates between present and past, this unputdownable survival thriller unravels the tangled circumstances that led Ty and Cory to the deer in the road and set them on a perilous course through the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest.
Warnings: child abuse, child sexual abuse, sex trafficking, violence
This mystery thriller delivers its story in two timelines- the present where these twins find a girl trapped in the boot of a car in an accident, and their life 16 months before, counting down to how they came to be on that road. Both timelines are through Cory’s perspective, but the present is in first person, and the past in the third person, a choice that felt a bit jarring in the start but which I got used to as I went along. Their story chronicles the birthday trip that their abusive father takes them to, before moving them to another town, getting mixed up in shady stuff and dying, then the boys being delivered into a foster home of a would-be politician who seems too good to be true; the main mystery of the story being what made them run away and be on their way to their father’s hideout, and who is the one who kidnapped the girl.
The book builds up suspense well, and with the alternating chapters usually ending in cliffhangers, it just keeps you reading and reading. As the story progresses, many thing emerge that could be the reason for them running away so it always seems like – is this it? Also, the now chapters are like a survivalist thriller, Cory and Astrid trekking through a forest/mountain trail, with her injured and them low on supplies and the threat of her kidnapper loose and probably about to attack just adsd to the tension. Cory is a smart protagonist, cunning but also a gentle soul. His and Ty’s relationship seems distant at times, to the point where it seems like Ty could be bad, but then there are instances where Ty shows where his moral code lies. The twists are not all that surprising, because there are plenty of clues leading up to it, but it is nevertheless exciting because of the writing itself. Bonus: there isn’t a romance sub-plot.
In short, a tense mystery to keep you entertained.
Is it diverse? The book has a gay and fat main character.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review from Disney-Hyperion, via Netgalley.
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