Mason jumpstarts this fast-paced thriller with an action-packed prologue, cleverly foreshadowing later events while hooking readers from the first page. The dynamics, and long-term friendship, between Christian and Joshua prove central to the overall plot: Christian is diabetic, reserved, and cautious, while Joshua tends to be confrontational and more of a risk taker. That said, the small, romantic subplot between Christian and Tina never really takes off, landing this novel squarely within the thriller realm. Detective Rice comes on board later in the storyline, the chapters from her point-of-view increasing the stakes and quickly ratcheting up the mystery.
Mason excels at writing a plot that weaves resonant racial and social issues—such as the Black Lives Matter movement—into the suspense. Christian and Joshua must navigate real-world racism along the life-or-death stakes of thrillers, and while diehard mystery aficionados may see the ending coming, there is ample tension to hold readers’ attention right up to the climax. Mason’s realistic, in-depth characters steal the spotlight when he deftly uses their differences to highlight the strength in their bonds. Readers will quickly become engrossed in this tale of a road trip gone to hell.
Takeaway: Childhood friends on a road trip find themselves caught up in fast-paced suspense in this thriller laced with resonant social issues.
Great for fans of: Victor LaValle’s The Devil in Silver, Ian K. Smith’s Wolf Point.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A