Publication Date: Available now from Randomhouse UK Cornerstone.
After trying to help Benjamin Pearl, an undernourished, nearly feral eleven-year-old boy living in the Montana wilderness, social worker Pete Snow comes face to face with the boy’s profoundly disturbed father, Jeremiah. With courage and caution, Pete slowly earns a measure of trust from this paranoid survivalist itching for a final conflict that will signal the coming End Times.
But as Pete’s own family spins out of control, Pearl’s activities spark the full-blown interest of the F.B.I., putting Pete at the center of a massive manhunt from which no one will emerge unscathed.
So I started this novel yesterday morning and was not really enamoured after the first couple of chapters – I’m not sure why, I found the initial set up to be kind of slow – but the writing was beautiful so I kept on and here we are today and I’m finished. I really could not put this down once it kicked in, and I was right in that story all the way, despite its often meandering quality and some distinctive structuring that meant I had to keep my head in the game..
It is an emotional, often violent read to be sure – and I don’t really mean violent as in blood and guts, but more mentally speaking, dealing as it does with the vagaries of social work and some of the experiences our main protagonist has will give you pause for thought. It is a complex story, multi stranded, looking at many issues, and definitely one to make you sit up and take notice. The story of the survivalist family and their attitudes is absolutely fascinating – and it is strange to realise that people like this really do exist. The character defining journey Pete Snow takes as he deals with this and his own family issues is absolutely one of the best I’ve seen in any novel lately, he is truly compelling.
Very hard to review without spoilers it has to be said, but this is a remarkable debut, and one of those books where now I’ve finished it I’m still not sure what I think of it. A slow burner that turns almost on a dime into a rollercoaster breakneck speed of a read, it is one of those novels that will suck you in inexorably with each passing chapter. Did I love it? Yes I think I probably did. Don’t ask me why though. Kudos to the author.
Happy Reading Folks!