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Scott Free


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About the Author

John Gilstrap is the author of Nathan's Run, At All Costs and Even Steven.


Suspense veteran Gilstrap (Even Steven) falls back on one of his familiar themes-young person in peril-for this rousing, if hokey, adventure set in Utah's Wasatch Mountains. Scott O'Toole, the teenage son of celebrity shrink Sherry O'Toole, goes down in a small plane in the snow-covered backcountry while en route to Salt Lake City. As Scott struggles to stay alive, mom and dad-long-divorced-bicker over who's at fault for their son's disappearance. The local authorities, meanwhile, launch only a halfhearted search; the U.S. president is scheduled to stop in later in the week for a special environmental event, and most resources have been sidelined to prepare for the visit. Scott finally straggles up to a remote cabin, only to find it inhabited by a heavily armed, twitchy man named Isaac DeHaven. Pressured by Scott to explain the presence of two dead bodies on the property, Isaac acknowledges he's a professional hitman. Scott conceals his panic and manages to plot his escape and return to safety. But then he gets to thinking: DeHaven's a hit man and the president's coming to town. Gilstrap's plot rolls along with the momentum of an avalanche, culminating in a well-executed finale on the ski slopes. Yet his characters drop some feeble lines ("it's so unfair," observes Scott of his crisis), and Scott seems oddly cool under pressure for a boy of 15. Still, Gilstrap shows once again that he knows how to provoke an armchair adrenaline rush. 5-city author tour. (Feb.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

The sort of thriller that is a 'page-turner' and 'hard to put down'. It is easy to laugh at these clich s of the blurb writer's lowly art, but what do you say about a book that keeps you turning the pages and proves impossible to put down? The point about such clich s is not that they register a failure of imagination but that they state the obvious with precision and verbal economy. Here a light aircraft crashes in a storm, the pilot is killed, and the solitary passenger finds himself lost in a frozen wilderness. Then he discovers a remote cabin and the terror begins. Even the plot piles clich on top of clich , but if it didn't the suspense would be lost and the tension that every thriller writer must crank up would vanish.

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