on July 14th, 2015
Genres: Fiction, Thrillers
Buy on Amazon
The newest thriller from Michael Koryta, New York Times bestselling author When fourteen-year-old Jace Wilson witnesses a brutal murder, he's plunged into a new life, issued a false identity and hidden in a wilderness skills program for troubled teens. The plan is to get Jace off the grid while police find the two killers. The result is the start of a nightmare.The killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him. Now all that remains between them and the boy are Ethan and Allison Serbin, who run the wilderness survival program; Hannah Faber, who occupies a lonely fire lookout tower; and endless miles of desolate Montana mountains.The clock is ticking, the mountains are burning, and those who wish Jace Wilson dead are no longer far behind.
When I was a teenager I used to read a lot of thrillers. I’m 34, so young adult as an age category was still growing and there wasn’t a lot out there for me to choose from–not like there is now anyway. I still read what was there, but I read a lot of the adult books my parents were reading at the time, and so I read lots of thrillers and adventure fiction–good and bad. I think I would HATE a lot of what I read then now because I am so much pickier. Some of the writing was terrible, the twists predictable. But I was reading, and I was enjoying myself, and that’s all that matters. Nowadays, though, it takes a talented writer to make me swoon over the greatness of a thriller.
I’ve always wanted to read a Michael Koryta book. I’ve heard a lot about him, I’ve seen his books on social media a ton, and I remember seeing The Cypress House everywhere when it came out (I still have not read this and really want to). I read the author interview with him at the end of the book, and I really connected to what he said about sense of place, and writing the story and the genre that the setting he has chosen calls for. Settings and atmosphere are so important to me as a reader. If I can’t feel like I am there next to the characters, the book most likely will not work for me and I will not get emotionally involved. It all goes hand in hand to build the perfect reading experience.
Do I think the author accomplished this with Those Who Wish Me Dead? Mostly.
Though the atmosphere and setting were solid, what I really enjoyed most were the characters. It’s tough to build characterization in thrillers. Enough to get your readers attached to them anyway. I was pretty impressed by all the characters and horrible things they went through. I was not shocked by the death of a character at the end. I knew of all characters that one was the most expendable. But I WAS impressed by the twists that hit me one after another that I did NOT see coming. It’s like you KNEW something was coming, but I never thought it would be what it ended up being.
The villains were horrid, perfectly evil, and terrifying. I prefer my villans to be multi-dimensional though, and these were just one note: Bad.
In many ways, Those Who Wish Me Dead was your typical thriller. But it was also daring because the main protagonist was a teenager, and he had two villains trying to kill him throughout. It automatically tugs at your heartstrings because he’s just a kid! He does have people trying to help him, but it also felt like most of the time he was really alone.
The pacing is intense. There’s a fire, a lot of hiking, alternating chapters between protagonists, side characters, and villains. Sometimes you don’t know where people are or what is happening, and you can’t wait for it all to be tied together and for you to get some relief already! There were a few parts of it that I found boring and repetitive, and that’s kind of what kept it from being a 5 star read for me. I want my thrillers to be breakneck without a pause. This was close but it was still a bit wordy for me in places. There were scenes that I felt could have been tightened up a little. That said, I can’t wait to read another Michael Koryta book.
Definitely pick this one up if you are looking for a thriller that’s a little bit different. I enjoyed the ride.