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Never Far Away

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Once a wife, mother, and witness to a gruesome crime, Nina Morgan has been in hiding for a decade as Leah Trenton. She left behind her Midwestern roots to move to the northernmost tip of Maine. She also left behind a family. Living a fairly isolated life along the banks of the Allagash River, she is determined to focus on the present, on her reclaimed future, but the demon Once a wife, mother, and witness to a gruesome crime, Nina Morgan has been in hiding for a decade as Leah Trenton. She left behind her Midwestern roots to move to the northernmost tip of Maine. She also left behind a family. Living a fairly isolated life along the banks of the Allagash River, she is determined to focus on the present, on her reclaimed future, but the demons of her past are relentlessly chipping away at Leah's protected hideaway. Then, in the wake of their father's untimely death, Leah's children call and she rushes to them in the guise of 'Aunt Leah'. They embark on a cross country journey but before they reach their destination, danger finds them and it is Leah who must come out of her seclusion to search for and protect her children. Told with the deft plotting and enthralling storytelling of a genre master, these two captivating chase narratives will converge along the rugged Allagash River, in the wilds of Maine, where the wills, morals, and ingenuity of a broken family will be tested against all odds.


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Once a wife, mother, and witness to a gruesome crime, Nina Morgan has been in hiding for a decade as Leah Trenton. She left behind her Midwestern roots to move to the northernmost tip of Maine. She also left behind a family. Living a fairly isolated life along the banks of the Allagash River, she is determined to focus on the present, on her reclaimed future, but the demon Once a wife, mother, and witness to a gruesome crime, Nina Morgan has been in hiding for a decade as Leah Trenton. She left behind her Midwestern roots to move to the northernmost tip of Maine. She also left behind a family. Living a fairly isolated life along the banks of the Allagash River, she is determined to focus on the present, on her reclaimed future, but the demons of her past are relentlessly chipping away at Leah's protected hideaway. Then, in the wake of their father's untimely death, Leah's children call and she rushes to them in the guise of 'Aunt Leah'. They embark on a cross country journey but before they reach their destination, danger finds them and it is Leah who must come out of her seclusion to search for and protect her children. Told with the deft plotting and enthralling storytelling of a genre master, these two captivating chase narratives will converge along the rugged Allagash River, in the wilds of Maine, where the wills, morals, and ingenuity of a broken family will be tested against all odds.

30 review for Never Far Away

  1. 5 out of 5

    Liz

    I’ve only read two other books by Michael Korytka, but I enjoyed them both. He writes character driven thrillers and this one is no exception. Nina Morgan was a wife, a mother and a witness to a violent crime. She was forced to change her identity and go into hiding - alone. Ten years later, her husband dies in a freak accident and she returns as his “sister in law” to take custody of her children. But the man behind the crime is still looking for her. Korytka paints realistic characters, not ju I’ve only read two other books by Michael Korytka, but I enjoyed them both. He writes character driven thrillers and this one is no exception. Nina Morgan was a wife, a mother and a witness to a violent crime. She was forced to change her identity and go into hiding - alone. Ten years later, her husband dies in a freak accident and she returns as his “sister in law” to take custody of her children. But the man behind the crime is still looking for her. Korytka paints realistic characters, not just Nina, now Leah. But her kids, the assassin who has mixed motives, even young Matt. He’s not an eloquent writer, but he’s an exacting one. “As he looked back at Hailey right now, emotional intelligence met a healthy dose of hormones and produced genius.” The book moves along at a fairly fast clip, switching out between the various characters’ storylines. There is a sense of tension that underlines almost every page of the book. I loved the sense of place that Korytka provides - the isolation of the Maine wilderness. Finally, kudos to Korytka who has written a story that was super easy to envision. My thanks to netgalley and Little, Brown for an advance copy of this book.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Jayne

    NEVER FAR AWAY is a "thriller" that just NEVER made me gasp. Unlike Koryta's earlier "thrilling thrillers", NEVER FAR AWAY fell flat and, unfortunately, it was NEVER a problem to put this "NEVER" book down. NEVER FAR AWAY is about a happily married pilot who agreed to testify against her boss about a brutal murder that she witnessed ten years ago. To protect the safety of her husband and two children, the pilot faked her own death, entered a witness protection program, and relocated to a secluded NEVER FAR AWAY is a "thriller" that just NEVER made me gasp. Unlike Koryta's earlier "thrilling thrillers", NEVER FAR AWAY fell flat and, unfortunately, it was NEVER a problem to put this "NEVER" book down. NEVER FAR AWAY is about a happily married pilot who agreed to testify against her boss about a brutal murder that she witnessed ten years ago. To protect the safety of her husband and two children, the pilot faked her own death, entered a witness protection program, and relocated to a secluded home in the Maine wilderness; leaving behind her husband and two small children. Ten years later, the pilot's husband is killed in an automobile accident and she receives a call from her daughter, who is under the mistaken impression that the pilot is her aunt. FAST FORWARD: Word gets out that the pilot has returned and the chase is on. Perhaps the reason why this "NEVER" book NEVER resonated with me was that I found it difficult to believe why a person would go to such extremes (and expense) to hire two hitmen to kill a woman (the pilot) who posed no threat -- all over an incident that happened ten years ago. The pilot had no plans to do any more testifying and no desire to harm anyone. Instead, the pilot wanted to lead a quiet and anonymous life with her children. Also, I found that many of the book's escape scenes lacked credibility. The pilot was a civilian with a pilot's license and not a trained FBI agent with the expert skills required to outfox and/or avoid two experienced hitmen. I listened to the book's audio version that was read by Robert Petkoff, one of my favorite narrators. It was Petkoff's outstanding narration (and not the author's text) that helped me move forward and not abandon this book.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Brandon

    Following a brutal murder, former pilot Leah Trenton agreed to testify against her boss.  With her life in danger, Leah Trenton would fake her own death and enter into witness protection.  In doing so, she had to leave behind a husband and two small children as she relocated to a secluded home deep in the wilderness of Maine.  Now, ten years later, her husband dies unexpectedly leaving her children without a parent.  Leah must re-emerge to care for her children.  The problem?  They think she’s d Following a brutal murder, former pilot Leah Trenton agreed to testify against her boss.  With her life in danger, Leah Trenton would fake her own death and enter into witness protection.  In doing so, she had to leave behind a husband and two small children as she relocated to a secluded home deep in the wilderness of Maine.  Now, ten years later, her husband dies unexpectedly leaving her children without a parent.  Leah must re-emerge to care for her children.  The problem?  They think she’s dead, too.  Oh, and her former boss is looking for revenge. I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Never Far Away is the latest thriller from author Michael Koryta and the third book of his I’ve had the chance to read.  His 2012 novel, The Prophet, is as close to a small-town crime-fiction masterpiece as you can get but his last novel, If She Wakes, happened to be one of the least enjoyable reads I picked up in 2019 – so naturally, for Never Far Away, I had my expectations firmly in the middle. So, how was it?  It was alright.  Koryta does a good job in slowly bringing the action from a light simmer to a boil throughout the book.  The wilderness of Maine had me pretty homesick for Nova Scotia at times given their proximity, so it was nice to be back on the east coast – if even only in my mind.  My biggest takeaway is that I don’t really feel like this one is going to stick with me for very long as it felt very much like a movie-of-the-week thriller you might catch on television on a Sunday afternoon.  It’s good popcorn entertainment, but lacks real substance.  But hey, sometimes those reads are good!  Like a great beach read or airport thriller. If I’m being honest, I wasn’t aware that there are connections between some of Koryta’s novels.  A character in Never Far Away appeared in If She Wakes and a pair of criminals at the novel’s beginning appear in another one of Koryta’s novels.  Dax Blackwood, the aforementioned character from If She Wakes, came across great in Never Far Away and added a lot to what could have been a pretty paint-by-numbers thriller. I’m still waiting for Koryta to knock my socks off like he did in The Prophet, so I’ll keep reading and keep comfort in knowing he has the talent to do so.  I suppose it’s just a matter of time.  And really, he has eleven other novels I could always go back and check out.

  4. 5 out of 5

    OutlawPoet

    Never Far Away is simply a really solid suspense thriller. I loved Nina – both the person she was and the person she became – and my heart just wept for the kids (especially the angry one). While I wasn’t quite in love with the reason behind everything, nor was I 100% believing in our villains, I found this to be a fast-paced, adrenalin-filled read and I have to admit that I just didn’t want to stop reading until the end. Definitely a good read! *ARC Provided via Net Galley

  5. 5 out of 5

    Susanne Gulde

    I am a huge Koryta fan, but I found this book difficult to finish. I only finished it because it was written by Michael Koryta. I didn't like/couldn't relate to any of the characters. Violence. Several narrative viewpoints. A sullen teenage girl. Several of Koryta's books have a strong spiritual/supernatural element to the story. This one had violence. I hope his next book is better. I am a huge Koryta fan, but I found this book difficult to finish. I only finished it because it was written by Michael Koryta. I didn't like/couldn't relate to any of the characters. Violence. Several narrative viewpoints. A sullen teenage girl. Several of Koryta's books have a strong spiritual/supernatural element to the story. This one had violence. I hope his next book is better.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    An excellent read! Fast paced & action packed author Michael Koryta delivers a hold your breath thriller. Nina aka Leah comes out of hiding to protect her children who believe she died many years earlier. However by doing so, they are all in danger now and running for their lives. Great characters and an engaging plot! This is my 1st novel by Michael Koryta and I plan to read his others. Highly Recommended!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Ellie Beals

    BIG TIME FUN! Never Far Away, by Michael Koryta, was big-time fun. Here’s an indication of how much fun it was. I have started every morning since Nov 9, 2016, with a cup of coffee and the NYT. Every day. No matter where I was. This morning, I sat up in bed, reached for the Kindle on my bedside table, and immediately dived back into the mayhem Koryta creates in the woods of Maine. Didn’t even get a coffee first! So what makes Never Far Away so compelling? First, it is beautifully written – great c BIG TIME FUN! Never Far Away, by Michael Koryta, was big-time fun. Here’s an indication of how much fun it was. I have started every morning since Nov 9, 2016, with a cup of coffee and the NYT. Every day. No matter where I was. This morning, I sat up in bed, reached for the Kindle on my bedside table, and immediately dived back into the mayhem Koryta creates in the woods of Maine. Didn’t even get a coffee first! So what makes Never Far Away so compelling? First, it is beautifully written – great characters and descriptive passages that never distract the reader with intrusive showiness. If you are discerning – you’ll note the fine writing, but the flow of the book is so good you may not even notice some of the lovely narrative on first read. Kudos to Koryta on plot development also. His plot makes sense – complex and believable and -thank you thank you! – not so byzantine that I’d need to map it to keep track of people and events, betrayal and counter-betrayal. Indeed – the plot unfolds well and the flow of the book is superb, with momentum that grows steadily and doesn’t abate until it should – when the book ends. Koryta has created compelling characters. Kudos to him for Nina, a well-drawn and believably strong female protagonist. His kids are also well-developed, as is the dog Tessa. As anyone who reads my book (Emergence) will know – I have a pretty sharp eye for the veracity with which dogs are presented. Finally - his villainous anti-heroes Bleak and Dax are so compelling that one can’t help but suspect that they will re-appear some time in the future. Kudos to Michael Koryta, for giving me the kind of high-adrenalin ride I haven’t had since I binge-read the first fifteen Jack Reacher novels by Lee Child (who has endorsed the book).

  8. 4 out of 5

    Evelyn

    Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Leah Trenton gets the call she never ever wanted. Her husband is dead and her two estranged children have no one else. The only problem is that they think she is their aunt—their father’s sister whom they’ve never met. Ten years ago Leah was known as Nina, and was the pilot for a very powerful man named Lowery who wanted her dead. Nina disappeared and became Leah to save her family. Now she’s not Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for an early copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Leah Trenton gets the call she never ever wanted. Her husband is dead and her two estranged children have no one else. The only problem is that they think she is their aunt—their father’s sister whom they’ve never met. Ten years ago Leah was known as Nina, and was the pilot for a very powerful man named Lowery who wanted her dead. Nina disappeared and became Leah to save her family. Now she’s not only running from the hit men Lowery has sent, but also another assassin for hire that wants revenge on Lowery and maybe Leah as well. This was hard to put down! I’ve read all of Koryta’s books and his ability to give the reader a sense of place is unmatched.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lissa

    3.5 stars. Leah used to be Nina and she used to have two kids and a loving husband, but now she lives in an isolated Maine cabin under an assumed name with a different life. When her husband dies, she makes the decision to go pick up her seemingly orphaned kids and takes them back to Maine posing as their aunt. Of course, the dangerous man who wanted her dead then, still wants her dead and what results is a hunt including two hit man, another hit man who just may be on her side and Leah herself 3.5 stars. Leah used to be Nina and she used to have two kids and a loving husband, but now she lives in an isolated Maine cabin under an assumed name with a different life. When her husband dies, she makes the decision to go pick up her seemingly orphaned kids and takes them back to Maine posing as their aunt. Of course, the dangerous man who wanted her dead then, still wants her dead and what results is a hunt including two hit man, another hit man who just may be on her side and Leah herself as she tries to protect her two children. I read all of Koryta's book because of his emphasis on place. His descriptions of the Maine wilderness are really well done. He also will use the same characters across his novels. I will say that I did not enjoy this one as much and it might be for personal reasons. My own children are of a similar age to the ones in the book, so it mostly felt stressful rather than thrilling. Overall, though, I think that fans of thrillers will find this author reliable. I received this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    I think this was my first Michael Kortya, nice, fast paced thriller

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jenna Lukens

    I love Koryta but this book left me disappointed and wanting more. I didn't really feel a connection to any of the characters, the dialogue felt sloppy at times and the actions of some characters we've seen before didn't seem on brand to me. If you've never read any of his work, do not start with this one; pick one of his other novels and give him the opportunity to woo you. I love Koryta but this book left me disappointed and wanting more. I didn't really feel a connection to any of the characters, the dialogue felt sloppy at times and the actions of some characters we've seen before didn't seem on brand to me. If you've never read any of his work, do not start with this one; pick one of his other novels and give him the opportunity to woo you.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ray Palen

    My habit when I pick up a new book is to take in the cover, read the blurbs on the front and back, and read the description of the story on the inside flap or anything included on the back cover. For whatever reason, I chose not to do this in the case of the latest Michael Koryta novel NEVER FAR AWAY and that ended up being the right call. The story begins with an episode from the past that will not make total sense for a while until the present-day narrative begins to fill in the puzzle pieces. My habit when I pick up a new book is to take in the cover, read the blurbs on the front and back, and read the description of the story on the inside flap or anything included on the back cover. For whatever reason, I chose not to do this in the case of the latest Michael Koryta novel NEVER FAR AWAY and that ended up being the right call. The story begins with an episode from the past that will not make total sense for a while until the present-day narrative begins to fill in the puzzle pieces. I found that this made the anticipation for the secrets that were to be revealed that much more satisfying as they were introduced into the plot. It begins with the section entitled ‘The End’. It was not the end of the story but the end of the life that once belonged to Nina Jackson. She and two unnamed men spend time setting up her vehicle to make it look as if she had been murdered and bled out in the driver’s seat. For whatever reason, no body was left behind. This was taken care of by the fact that Nina Jackson ceased to exist at that moment in Florida ten years earlier. She then relocated far away to Maine where she became Leah Trenton, a wilderness guide. All this was done so that a very bad man would not harm her husband or two young children. However, both the readers of this story and its’ author Michael Koryta understand you cannot run away from your past forever --- it eventually catches up with you. Leah’s husband, Doug, had instructed his children to call a certain phone number in the event that anything bad ever happened to him. When he is killed in a one-car accident, his daughter Hailey and son Nick make the call to the woman called Aunt Leah whom they have never met. She hears about their father’s death and assures them that everything will be alright as she is about to come for them. She walks away from her boyfriend, Ed, without giving him the full story and just indicates that she needs to pick up her niece and nephew who have now been ‘orphaned’ and bring them back home to Maine with her. The children are reluctant to leave their Kentucky home but have no say in the matter as Aunt Leah is driving them to now live with her in Maine. They are under the impression that Aunt Leah is their mother’s sister, still believing their mother was killed ten years earlier. The bad man who wanted Leah/Nina dead is the head of the Lowery Group and I will leave that backstory for readers to discover themselves. Let us just say that the bad man might not believe Leah/Nina is dead and is going to send two of his most brutal hitmen --- Pollard and Bleak --- to verify this fact. Meanwhile, Leah reached out to the only person she can think of who might be able to help her --- a man she knew as Doc Lambkin. Lambkin had been involved in the ruse surrounding her faked death and his next call is to a young man named Dax Blackwell --- who we never really know whether or not if he is bad or good --- to protect her. Pollard and Bleak break out of prison and begin to leave a bloody path behind them as they travel from Kentucky to Maine in search of Leah/Nina and her children. They have no intentions of letting any of them survive their eventual meeting. Leah decides to pick a location for her to hunker down with the kids and Ed to either wait out the search by the bad men or prepare to take a final stand against them all. This is to take place at a location two hundred miles from her home in the middle of the Allagash Wilderness in a spot only reachable by seaplane. Of course, young Hailey had shared this trip with her only friend at her new school, a local boy named Matt. When Matt breaks into Leah’s house after they have left --- on a mission for Hailey in which he is supposed to search through the mysterious Aunt Leah’s stuff for answers --- he is met there by Pollard and Bleak who immediately take him hostage for use as leverage in the inevitable showdown with Leah/Nina. Matt, fearing for his life, spills it all and he and the hitmen are soon on their way to the Allagash Mountains. During all of this, Dax Blackwell, by far my favorite character in the story, uses ‘incentive’ to force another local tour guide to fly him to the same area so that he can complete his assignment. Koryta saved the best dialogue for Blackwell and his scenes with the seaplane pilot and later with Hailey and Nick are worth the price of admission. We now have the tension surrounding the triangular meeting of Leah/Nina with her children, Pollard and Bleak, and Dax Blackwell. In lesser hands, another writer may have written themselves into a corner at this point and had things wrapping up with an unbelievable plot twist or ending. This is not the case with Michael Koryta who is a particularly good plotter and NEVER FAR AWAY has a satisfying conclusion whereby Leah/Nina is able to live up to her promise that Mothers are never far away. Reviewed by Ray Palen for Book Reporter

  13. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    When I pick up a new book, I typically like to take in the cover, check out the blurbs, and read the plot summary on the inside flap. For some reason, I chose not to do any of that with Michael Koryta’s latest novel, NEVER FAR AWAY, and it ended up being the right call. The story kicks off with an episode from the past that will not make total sense for a while until the present-day narrative starts filling in the puzzle pieces. This made the anticipation for the secrets that were to be revealed When I pick up a new book, I typically like to take in the cover, check out the blurbs, and read the plot summary on the inside flap. For some reason, I chose not to do any of that with Michael Koryta’s latest novel, NEVER FAR AWAY, and it ended up being the right call. The story kicks off with an episode from the past that will not make total sense for a while until the present-day narrative starts filling in the puzzle pieces. This made the anticipation for the secrets that were to be revealed that much more satisfying as they worked their way into the plot. NEVER FAR AWAY begins with a section titled “The End.” It is not the end of the story, but the end of the life that once belonged to Nina Jackson. She and two unnamed men spend time setting up her vehicle to make it look like she has been murdered and bled out in the driver’s seat. No body is left behind. Nina ceased to exist at that moment in Florida a decade ago. She moved far away to Maine, where she became Leah Trenton, a wilderness guide. This was all done so that a very bad man would not harm her husband or her two kids. However, Koryta and his readers understand that you cannot run away from your past forever; eventually it catches up with you. Leah’s husband, Doug, had instructed his children to dial a certain phone number in the event that anything bad ever happened to him. When he is killed in a one-car accident, Hailey and Nick call Aunt Leah, a woman they have never met. Leah hears about their father’s death and assures them that everything will be okay and she will come for them. She tells her boyfriend, Ed, that she needs to pick up her niece and nephew who have now been “orphaned” and bring them back home to Maine. The children are reluctant to leave Kentucky but have no say in the matter. They are under the impression that Leah is their mother’s sister, still believing that their mother was killed 10 years earlier. The bad man who wanted Leah dead is the head of the Lowery Group, and I will leave that backstory for readers to discover themselves. Let’s just say that he might not be convinced of her demise and will send two of his most brutal hitmen, Pollard and Bleak, to confirm his suspicions. Meanwhile, Leah reaches out to the only person she can think of who might be able to help her: Doc Lambkin, who had been involved in the ruse surrounding her faked death. He then calls upon Dax Blackwell, a young man who we never really know is good or bad, to protect her. Pollard and Bleak break out of prison and begin leaving a bloody path behind them as they travel from Kentucky to Maine in search of Leah and her children. They have no intentions of letting any of them survive their eventual meeting. Leah decides to pick a place to hunker down with Ed and the kids. Either they wait out the search by the bad men or prepare to take a final stand against them. This is to take place at a location 200 miles from her home in the middle of the Allagash Wilderness in a spot only reachable by seaplane. Of course, Hailey had shared this trip with her only friend at her new school, a local boy named Matt. When Matt breaks into Leah’s house after they have left --- on a mission for Hailey that involves searching through her mysterious aunt’s belongings for answers --- he is met there by Pollard and Bleak, who immediately take him hostage and use him as leverage in the inevitable showdown with Leah. Fearing for his life, Matt spills the beans, and he and the hitmen are soon on their way to the Allagash Mountains. Dax Blackwell, by far my favorite character here, uses “incentive” to force another local tour guide to fly him to the same area so he can complete his assignment. Koryta saves the best dialogue for Dax, and his scenes with the seaplane pilot and later with Hailey and Nick are worth the price of admission. We now have tension surrounding the triangular meeting of Leah with her children, Pollard and Bleak, and Dax. A less effective author may have written himself into a corner at this point and wrapped up the book with an unbelievable plot twist or ending. That is not the case with Michael Koryta, who is a superb plotter. NEVER FAR AWAY has a satisfying conclusion that allows Leah to live up to her promise that mothers are never far away. Reviewed by Ray Palen

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris DiLeo

    I'm a big fan of Koryta's work and am therefore predisposed to enjoying whatever he does. In that vein, I am biased. All readers are, of course, whether they admit it or not, and we're all extremely biased when it comes to the work of writers who have delighted and thrilled us many times before. Once again, Koryta gets the job done, and done well. I'm not a fan of trick endings, surprise "haha gotcha" twists, or other deceitful narrative manipulations, but I do enjoy when a skilled writer can play I'm a big fan of Koryta's work and am therefore predisposed to enjoying whatever he does. In that vein, I am biased. All readers are, of course, whether they admit it or not, and we're all extremely biased when it comes to the work of writers who have delighted and thrilled us many times before. Once again, Koryta gets the job done, and done well. I'm not a fan of trick endings, surprise "haha gotcha" twists, or other deceitful narrative manipulations, but I do enjoy when a skilled writer can play with reader expectations and create scenes so tense and suspenseful that you forget you're reading a book but feel instead that you're in the scene and desperate to find out what's going to happen. Koryta starts this book with a scene like that and it's a brilliant hook into this novel of secrets, responsibility, danger, and love. Koryta knows how to keep us reading, to never let up on the tension, how to never make it easy on the characters, but he also knows how to humanize his characters, how to get us to care. For example, there is a 13-year-old boy in this novel who when he is introduced seems to be there solely to offer another glimpse at our protagonist, a different perspective that will lend a larger view than we've been so far offered, and while that would be fine, Koryta makes this character completely integral to the tale and when he falls into danger late in the story I was completely invested in his fate. Koryta is so good at moving the metaphorical chess pieces into position without ever seeming like he's manipulating events. It's not plot he's giving us, but what George Saunders calls "meaningful action." I never feel manipulated by Koryta—I feel like I'm in the hands of a master craftsman. I read books that fully engage me with interesting characters and intriguing conflicts. I read not because I want to know the answer to the mystery or try to guess the murderer's identity or rush to the last-page explanation of events. I read because a story has so hooked me I gotta know what's going to happen. It's about the bad guy and the good guy finally having their showdown, and me not knowing how it will resolve. It's about a constant ratcheting of tension and a solid payoff. I love Koryta's writing. He's not trying to be clever. Not trying to be literary. He's trying to tell a story the best way he knows how. (Side note: Koryta loves to put his characters in conflict with nature as well, be it in the woods or in a cave or in a swamp or in the wilds of Maine, and these settings are always used to their full, dangerous potential.) I read the final hundred pages of this book in one sitting. It kept me reading, kept me wanting to know what was going to happen, and kept me caring. I can't ask much more from a book. All I can do is anxiously await the next one.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

    4.5 stars. Never Far Away by Michael Koryta is an action-packed thriller. Ten years ago, Nina Morgan faked her own death in order to protect her husband and two small children. She changed her name to Leah Trenton and now lives in a remote part of Maine.  Her husband Doug and their children, thirteen year old Hailey and eleven year old Nick, live a normal life in Kentucky. Following Doug’s death, Hailey kicks off her parents’ contingency plan to send a message to “Aunt Leah”.  Believing her old em 4.5 stars. Never Far Away by Michael Koryta is an action-packed thriller. Ten years ago, Nina Morgan faked her own death in order to protect her husband and two small children. She changed her name to Leah Trenton and now lives in a remote part of Maine.  Her husband Doug and their children, thirteen year old Hailey and eleven year old Nick, live a normal life in Kentucky. Following Doug’s death, Hailey kicks off her parents’ contingency plan to send a message to “Aunt Leah”.  Believing her old employers no longer want her dead, Leah brings her children to her isolated cabin in Maine. Hailey is wary of Leah and less than thrilled with the move.  Nick is more accepting of their new situation especially after they move into town. Leah also set into action a plan for someone to keep watch over her and the children.  Having living without fear for so long, she is not quite as cautious as she should be. But once she learns her former boss, J. Corson Lowery, is aware she is alive, she eventually implements a plan to prevent two escaped killers from finding them. Leah is also afraid that her safety plan fell through, so she and her kids are on their own. Are the killers closer than she believes? Unbeknownst to Leah, her phone call to someone she trusts with her life was successful. Assassin Dax Blackwell has his own agenda that conveniently includes locating her. He works his way across the country and eventually finds Leah, Hailey and Nick. Fortunately for Leah, he arrives ahead of Lowery’s men, but exactly whose side is Dax on? Hailey is extremely suspicious of Leah and she is attempting to find more information about her “aunt”. Enlisting the aid of the boy who lives next door, she is surprised by the details he manages to unearth. Confused and wanting more information, they come up with a plan they hopes will lead to the truth about Leah. Before she has the chance to learn anything new, Leah insists on taking her and Nick on an unexpected journey. Will Hailey trust Leah to keep them safe? Never Far Away is a compelling mystery that is engrossing and suspenseful. Leah is desperate to protect her children and she is willing to sacrifice her life for theirs. Nick is an easy to please young man who adapts fairly quickly to their new lives. Hailey is resentful and suspicious about Leah’s identity and she will do anything to ensure she and Nick are safe. Dax is surprisingly amusing as he decides what his course of action he will take upon his arrival in Maine. With intriguing twists and unanticipated turns, Michael Koryta brings this exciting novel to an edge of the seat conclusion. I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this fast-paced thriller to fans of the genre.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl Scott

    Reader, do you like roller coasters? I do. I think I do or at least I used to like them. I haven’t ridden a roller coaster in years. Reading Never Far Away by Michael Koryta felt like a roller coaster ride. Now let me be clear. I am not suggesting that there were ups and downs as is how one figuratively describes a roller coaster ride. I am talking about the actual feeling of riding a roller coaster. One steps into the car. Fastens the seatbelt and then the joined cars take off climbing high in Reader, do you like roller coasters? I do. I think I do or at least I used to like them. I haven’t ridden a roller coaster in years. Reading Never Far Away by Michael Koryta felt like a roller coaster ride. Now let me be clear. I am not suggesting that there were ups and downs as is how one figuratively describes a roller coaster ride. I am talking about the actual feeling of riding a roller coaster. One steps into the car. Fastens the seatbelt and then the joined cars take off climbing high in anticipation and then…the bottom falls away and the cars careen downhill and adrenaline rushes through your body. Then, quickly, the cars start the next hill, barely leaving time for a breath. Anticipation grows, peaks, and then woosh. Wow. This novel follows a similar pattern. Anticipation. Thrill. Anticipation. Thrill. Hardly room for a breath. After all the rushes, just like the roller coaster ride, I am left in line waiting for the next Michael Koryta thriller. The novel opens with Nina, a pilot, preparing to die, perhaps, with her two unnamed murderers. Murderers who are deciding her fate, systematically. Will she die? Will she live? If she lives, how will the assassins create a scene that leaves no question of her demise? And do you know what reader? I start to like the assassins. I don’t want to like them, but I did. Thank you Mr. Koryta. Nina lives, has to abandon her family, husband and children, and start a new life with a new identity, until, another hill on this roller coaster, her former husband dies in a car accident. Nina’s world is thrown upside down once again as she attempts to keep her children and herself safe; children who think she is dead. Michael Koryta thrills us with nonstop action, but that’s not all. Character development is superb. I was emotionally engaged with the characters who were complex and eccentric. While I would agree that this novel is plot driven, character arcs are complete. The prose is tight. And there is a beautiful symmetry between the beginning image and the ending image. (I can’t say anymore about that without giving too much away). Speaking of images, the descriptions of Maine are just beautiful. I want to visit, in the summer though. Reading this novel was a pleasure from cover to cover. I loved the characters, even when I didn’t want to love them. I loved the thrill. What a ride! Consider adding it to your Crime Lit TBR pile. Review Rating System Classification: Thriller Slow Boil: Action from the first page Literary: 4 Noir: 4 Thriller: 5 Overall: 4.5

  17. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    "Do not attempt to hide things which cannot be hidden." (Aesop) Leah Trenton, formerly known as Nina Morgan, knows that hidden secrets, often as not, rise to the surface eventually. She vividly remembers the night that she took extra precautions to fake her death in Florida. Ten years have passed and an outstretched hand now beckons for payback. Leah was employed by an unscrupulous individual who headed the Lowery Group, an international network of people who worked in the shadows of questionable "Do not attempt to hide things which cannot be hidden." (Aesop) Leah Trenton, formerly known as Nina Morgan, knows that hidden secrets, often as not, rise to the surface eventually. She vividly remembers the night that she took extra precautions to fake her death in Florida. Ten years have passed and an outstretched hand now beckons for payback. Leah was employed by an unscrupulous individual who headed the Lowery Group, an international network of people who worked in the shadows of questionable activities. As a licensed pilot, Leah flew groups to their destinations. No questions asked and no answers expected. But one afternoon, Leah witnessed a despicable act. Immediately, she knew that her days were numbered. Death was the only way out of this. A death contrived by Leah and not at the hands of the Lowery Group. But the price she paid was great. She left her husband, Doug, and two young children, Hailey and Nick, behind believing that she died those ten years ago. Now living in Piscataquis County, Maine, Leah lived and worked as a guide in the North Woods. Not a soul knew of her backstory....until now. A freak accident takes the life of Doug after all these years. Hailey has been instructed by Doug to call a certain memorized secret number. The woman who answers is said to be her "aunt". Needless to say, it's her mother Leah. Hailey and Nick know nothing. Leah brings the children back to Maine with her. It's evident that they are not going willingly. But someone has had their finger on the pulse of this family and knows now that Leah/Nina is still alive. And the wild pursuit for Leah is now beginning with two men hired to take her out. I've added piles of Michael Koryta's books to my TBR. After Never Far Away, I'll be bringing those books out front and center. Koryta knows how to tell a story with straightforward action lined with some devious characters. There's almost a heightened rhythm to the escalating tension from the first chapter onward. He's covered all the bases. You know that something bad is going to happen at any moment. Good stuff for a Netflix movie and good stuff to grab your attention during the times that we wish to escape for a few moments from the realities of this life. I received a copy of this book through NetGalley for an honest review. My thanks to Little, Brown and Company and to Michael Koryta for the opportunity.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Paul Sutter

    NEVER FAR AWAY is as tense a thriller and you would ever wish to read. And the fact Michael Koryta is the author is not surprising, as he is a master of thrills as evidenced in his past works. You know once you open his books, you are in for a great ride, and once again, that is a fact here. The book begins with Nina Morgan about to be killed by a pair of hit men. But the hit does not go along exactly as planned because the hit men who have no love lost for the man who hired them to kill Nina, g NEVER FAR AWAY is as tense a thriller and you would ever wish to read. And the fact Michael Koryta is the author is not surprising, as he is a master of thrills as evidenced in his past works. You know once you open his books, you are in for a great ride, and once again, that is a fact here. The book begins with Nina Morgan about to be killed by a pair of hit men. But the hit does not go along exactly as planned because the hit men who have no love lost for the man who hired them to kill Nina, goes rogue in a manner of speaking. They recreate a scene where it appears Nina was killed by them though the body was never found, just enough blood and evidence to make people assume that. Nina disappears but is in contact with her husband Doug who hopes she will return to take care of the children if anything should happen to him. He dies in a car accident and Nina returns but as Aunt Leah. She does not tell the children the truth and the two Hailey and Nick head to Maine with their aunt to start over. But those from the past realize the grand deception and once again hit men head out to make sure Aunt Leah does not draw many more breaths. They are stalked by the killers but hope is on the horizon in the form of Dax Blackwell, a shady sort of hit man in his own right who we think is coming to her rescue. He is not a person you gravitate to as his dark side almost makes it appear he does not have a light side. He loves to inflict pain and make people suffer, and when it comes right down to it, he seems to take pleasure in seeing Aunt Leah squirm a little as well. He is like the anti-hero we love to hate. It is Dax who makes the book work in so many ways as Aunt Leah uses survival instinct to protect her children. Dax incidentally has appeared in other Koryta novels and he definitely leaves a lasting impression. NEVER FAR AWAY leaves as lasting an impression on the reader.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Monica

    The setting in the north woods of Maine was the best thing about the book. Once you get into the convoluted plot, the two dimensional characters and the number of times the suspension of disbelief is called for, it goes downhill, though the action continues at a pretty brisk pace . From Kirkus Having faked her death and fled her family a decade ago to protect them from killers, Nina Morgan—renamed Leah Trenton—is newly targeted by two assassins in the Maine North Woods. The assassins have been disp The setting in the north woods of Maine was the best thing about the book. Once you get into the convoluted plot, the two dimensional characters and the number of times the suspension of disbelief is called for, it goes downhill, though the action continues at a pretty brisk pace . From Kirkus Having faked her death and fled her family a decade ago to protect them from killers, Nina Morgan—renamed Leah Trenton—is newly targeted by two assassins in the Maine North Woods. The assassins have been dispatched by the Blackwater-like outfit for whom Nina was employed as a pilot and against whom she testified after witnessing a grisly murder. In her absence, before he died in a car accident, her husband instructed their daughter, Hailey, 13, and son, Nick, 11, to contact their "Aunt Leah" if something happened to him. Having never been visited by her, they're understandably upset when she suddenly appears at their home in Louisville and moves them to a Wi-Fi–less cabin in Maine. Soon enough, the killers track her down, leaving victims in their wake. Also arriving on the scene is sardonic young sociopath Dax Blackwell, part of a family of hit men featured in Koryta's novels. Asked by a family friend to protect Nina, Dax seizes the opportunity to even a score with the wealthy head of the black ops firm. He also likes the idea of making the suffering mom's life more miserable. All leads to a cleverly staged triangular encounter on and along the Allagash River. As always, Koryta uses outdoor settings masterfully. The usually persuasive author is less successful in overcoming some head-scratching plot contrivances and oddities. But the book is loaded with nail-biting suspense and parent-child emotion. And though there's more of Dax's corrosive wit than the story can bear ("You never stop talking, do you?" one character asks him), the book hits the ground running and never slows down. Not one of Koryta's best but still a freshly imagined thriller.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Luanne Ollivier

    I discovered Michael Koryta a few books back and have been a fan ever since. He writes fantastic thrillers. His latest is Never Far Away. Okay, the prologue was crazy good and I was immediately hooked! Nina disappeared ten years ago in Florida, presumed dead. She left behind two children in their father's care. In Nina's place, Leah was born. Leah has kept a low profile, working as a wilderness guide in a remote area of Maine. And, yup guessed it - the past comes a calling and her children are in I discovered Michael Koryta a few books back and have been a fan ever since. He writes fantastic thrillers. His latest is Never Far Away. Okay, the prologue was crazy good and I was immediately hooked! Nina disappeared ten years ago in Florida, presumed dead. She left behind two children in their father's care. In Nina's place, Leah was born. Leah has kept a low profile, working as a wilderness guide in a remote area of Maine. And, yup guessed it - the past comes a calling and her children are in danger. Koryta has created a great lead in Leah. I liked her right away. She's not a trained killer or secret agent. But you know what they say...don't poke the mama bear. She'll do what she has to do to protect her kids. The kids, Hailey and Nick, are also well drawn - their thoughts, responses, emotions and interactions with Leah ring true. Now, onto the men in pursuit of Leah. They're two stone cold hit men on a mission, especially the one called Bleak. (great name!) But...here's the fun bit. If you've read If She Wakes, you're going to know this name - Dax Blackwood. Yes, the young hit man is also interested in Leah and her pursuers. But is he there to help or hurt? I love this antagonist - his dialogue and thoughts are so unpredictable. Is he crazy or cunning? The action is non-stop in Never Far Away and kept me up late with the 'just one more chapter' mantra running through my brain. The plot is inventive and unpredictable. Some twists require a grain of salt, but just go with it. Koryta is a master of this genre. An escapist novel that reads like a movie. I can absolutely see it on the screen.

  21. 4 out of 5

    RMazin

    Michael Koryta is a master of plot and suspense. Leah/Nina must disappear from her life if she wants her family and herself to live. She was a witness to a violent crime orchestrated by a powerful and untouchable crime figure. Her only way to escape is to leave all she knows and go into hiding. For ten years she leads a different life, thinks about her past, her very young children, but realizes the way forward is always to build her own future. Then an accident suddenly leaves her children fath Michael Koryta is a master of plot and suspense. Leah/Nina must disappear from her life if she wants her family and herself to live. She was a witness to a violent crime orchestrated by a powerful and untouchable crime figure. Her only way to escape is to leave all she knows and go into hiding. For ten years she leads a different life, thinks about her past, her very young children, but realizes the way forward is always to build her own future. Then an accident suddenly leaves her children fatherless. Now Leah/Nina must gather her children without revealing her identity. She may also risk revealing her identity to the crime boss who may still be seeking vengeance after ten years. Leah/Nina reaches out to someone who knows a person who specializes in “helping” people who are at grave risk. He is Dax, a contract killer with a unique background and a very idiosyncratic work ethic. He takes the “job” but with many caveats. From this point, the tale becomes a high-speed thrill to keep the “good” people safe and one step ahead of the pursuers. This is made even harder since the children do not trust their “Aunt” (mother) nor do they comprehend the danger that she is shielding them from. Dax is also one of the best characters in this book, or any book of this genre. Koryta has crafted a “hitman” with many moral faults but a strange philosophy that makes the reader root for him no matter how unsavory the situation. I think I even preferred him to Leah/Nina who also had learned some skills to help her survive. This would make a great movie…..so enjoy it now for escapist suspense. Recommended.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John McKenna

    It begins with a woman named Nina Morgan faking her own death somewhere down in Florida in order to keep her husband and two small children safe from the man she’s been working for. His name is Carson Lowery. He’s the man who started and runs a private contracting company that one U.S. Senator refers to as “Blackwater on steroids” . . . and he’s the one who hired the two hit men who helped Nina Morgan fake her death. They decided not to take her life because of other grievances they have with Lo It begins with a woman named Nina Morgan faking her own death somewhere down in Florida in order to keep her husband and two small children safe from the man she’s been working for. His name is Carson Lowery. He’s the man who started and runs a private contracting company that one U.S. Senator refers to as “Blackwater on steroids” . . . and he’s the one who hired the two hit men who helped Nina Morgan fake her death. They decided not to take her life because of other grievances they have with Lowery and his firm. Ten peaceful years later, Nina’s husband Doug Chatfield goes out to buy donuts and is killed in a tragic, and ordinary traffic accident . . . which causes daughter Hailey, now thirteen years old to call a pager number and alert her aunt, Leah Trenton. Unbeknownst to the teenager and her eleven year-old brother Nick, Leah is the assumed name of their mother Nina, who they think died when they were still babies. The death of Doug Chatfield and the arrival of a nonexistent ‘Aunt’ soon reaches the notice of Colson Lowery, who realizes he’s been duped, and sends another pair of amoral, utterly ruthless and merciless killers to track mother and kids down so that he can kill them. The chase goes from Kentucky to the wilderness of northern Maine, while the suspense ratchets up toward the moon in this exquisitely well-crafted thriller from the mind of a master wordsmith who just gets better and better with each new book!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Koryta is easily one of my favorite authors. I honestly can't recall anything I've read by him where I've been disappointed. In Never Far Away, Leah Trenton has been forced to start a new life in order to protect the ones she loves. She's managed to keep everyone safe from harm for a decade and squeaked out a fresh start for herself as well. When an unfortunate accident happens however, Leah fears the man she has been hiding from will come for her once again. This book is a page turner! It kept m Koryta is easily one of my favorite authors. I honestly can't recall anything I've read by him where I've been disappointed. In Never Far Away, Leah Trenton has been forced to start a new life in order to protect the ones she loves. She's managed to keep everyone safe from harm for a decade and squeaked out a fresh start for herself as well. When an unfortunate accident happens however, Leah fears the man she has been hiding from will come for her once again. This book is a page turner! It kept me on the edge of my seat and I had a pit in my stomach for so much of it. The plot moves swiftly and the characters are really well developed. And DAX IS BACK!!! (If you're not aware of Dax, read If She Wakes for a great introduction!) It's probably wrong to be excited about Dax being present. He's a cold-blooded killer and yet one of the most intriguing characters on a page. With Dax, you never know what his intentions are but he's clear to explain them plainly. As a reader, he makes you on edge all the time! Does Dax have a conscience? Is he like his father and uncle before him? What motivates him to do what he does? So many layers to Dax. Anyway, this is a great read and so well done. Looking forward to the next book from this great author (and I suspect that Dax may be lingering on those pages as well...or at least I hope he is!).

  24. 5 out of 5

    Gobookmart

    Never Far Away by Michael Koryta beginnings with a horrifying scene including a lady named Nina Morgan. In the beginning she appears to be a hostage on the verge of being murdered. It turns out that Nina is a wife and mother of two little youngsters, who is working with the “hostage takers” to fake her own death. She is making a desperate endeavor to keep her family protected from her manager. Carson Lowery, whose contracting organization has been alluded to as “Blackwater on Steroids.” Read Full Never Far Away by Michael Koryta beginnings with a horrifying scene including a lady named Nina Morgan. In the beginning she appears to be a hostage on the verge of being murdered. It turns out that Nina is a wife and mother of two little youngsters, who is working with the “hostage takers” to fake her own death. She is making a desperate endeavor to keep her family protected from her manager. Carson Lowery, whose contracting organization has been alluded to as “Blackwater on Steroids.” Read Full Review Gobookmart Follow us on social media Spotify Google News Facebook Instagram Twitter

  25. 5 out of 5

    V Myers

    Not believable This book started out interesting enough with decent characters and a generic plot but no one is particularly believable. Leah is utterly unprepared and naive for a woman on the run for a decade and the kids seem to just go with the flow despite being complex uprooted from their lives. No one is emotional or traumatized from their experience and there is a general lack of reaction from everyone. And what kid does not know not to just download random stuff on their devices there? K Not believable This book started out interesting enough with decent characters and a generic plot but no one is particularly believable. Leah is utterly unprepared and naive for a woman on the run for a decade and the kids seem to just go with the flow despite being complex uprooted from their lives. No one is emotional or traumatized from their experience and there is a general lack of reaction from everyone. And what kid does not know not to just download random stuff on their devices there? Kids have a better handle on that than adults most of the time! The helpful hitman is a caricature there are some lazy inconsistencies that really distracted me from fully engaging. For example, Leah/Nina is presenting as her own sister- wouldn't the bad wealthy guy with unlimited resources already know everythingabouther as she was in his employ? Wouldnt he know if there is a sister or not? Then about 25% in when the bad wealthy guy is gathering his assassins to come after her, he says he knows Leah is Nina because Leah is supposed to be the husband's sister and he doesn't have a sister. What?? Pretty sloppy missed fact to hang a pivotal issue on. Overall, if you want a quick mindless read you might enjoy this book. I couldn't get through it. 2.5 stars out of 5

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lenny

    Mix the following: an ordinary person trying to do the right things, an arrogant rich person who wants things his way and will use his power, money, and influence to stop those trying to take him down, and a few skilled top of their game hit men and what do you get? “Never Far Away” by Michael Koryta Add a dash of some fantastic scenery, a story that gives you perspective thru many of the characters eyes and you end up with a story that will linger in your mind long after you finish. All the ingr Mix the following: an ordinary person trying to do the right things, an arrogant rich person who wants things his way and will use his power, money, and influence to stop those trying to take him down, and a few skilled top of their game hit men and what do you get? “Never Far Away” by Michael Koryta Add a dash of some fantastic scenery, a story that gives you perspective thru many of the characters eyes and you end up with a story that will linger in your mind long after you finish. All the ingredients that (to me) make a novel worthy of 5 stars Fast paced, well written, and hard to put down. Koryta once again leaves you dwelling on so much about life and decisions and often leaves you wondering about the choices we make each day There’s nothing better than a book you have no idea where it will go and how it will end. This had all of that. I read a few reviews that said some it didn’t seem plausible. But it’s fiction. I don’t expect everything to be what I feel could happen or not If you want a fun hard to put down read with not stop action the loaded with tension and great character development, I’d say read this book

  27. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    4.5 stars. The first chapter was only 8 pages but the scene was terrifying. In the next few chapters, readers see Leah Trenton in Maine as she flies an airplane with her boyfriend. They have a guide business and own several cabins. Several states away, we see a happy home life of Doug and his two children Hailey (13) and Nick (11). Going to get donuts, Doug crashes his vehicle and dies. Leah receives a call on her satellite phone from Hailey who has always been taught by her father to call this n 4.5 stars. The first chapter was only 8 pages but the scene was terrifying. In the next few chapters, readers see Leah Trenton in Maine as she flies an airplane with her boyfriend. They have a guide business and own several cabins. Several states away, we see a happy home life of Doug and his two children Hailey (13) and Nick (11). Going to get donuts, Doug crashes his vehicle and dies. Leah receives a call on her satellite phone from Hailey who has always been taught by her father to call this number if anything happened to him. Hailey and and Nick have been told their mother died 10 years ago. They don't know Leah is really their mother and she had to escape and hide after testifying against a powerful man who has a very long memory. Now that she's out in the open, he's coming for Leah. For me, this was a gripping story. In both of the books by this author that I have read, the assassins have been strangely likeable. Dax can't be called honorable but he has his own personal code. My mind was circling the entire book trying to figure out what Dax was ultimately going to do. Even at the very end, I didn't expect part of what he did. I like to be surprised.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Gloria

    Have only read one other Kortya novel Those Who Wish Me Dead which is excellent, but feel that this book is just a rearranged plot of the same novel. From Goodreads Description of Those Who Wish Me Dead: When fourteen-year-old Jace 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 killers, known as the Blackwell Brothers, are slaughtering anyone who gets in their way in a methodical quest to reach him. Have only read one other Kortya novel Those Who Wish Me Dead which is excellent, but feel that this book is just a rearranged plot of the same novel. From Goodreads Description of Those Who Wish Me Dead: When fourteen-year-old Jace 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 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 [2 people], who run the wilderness survival program, and endless miles of desolate mountains. In this new novel, there is a brutal murder, a new life, false identity, hiding in the wilderness, and troubled teens. Slaughtering? Yes. Desolate mountains? Yes, but moved from Montana to Maine. Lots of suspense, but this felt very violent with plenty of blood, so be warned. There are elements that stretch believability including that most sacred tenet of a mother never abandoning her child. Enjoyed the suspense and learning about float planes. Kids are smart, too. Basically good novel, but perhaps not his best.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Holly Gravel

    B I thought it would be a great plot, but the handling of it wasn't that great. Leah testified against a criminal and it's his lifelong goal to find her and personally kill her, so his two henchman are on her trail, one named Bleak. She knew them both when she worked as a pilot for the bad guy. She has a new love in her life, a pilot of a water plane who guides tourists as she now does too, so lots of outdoor ME sites. Once a wife, mother, and witness to a gruesome crime, Nina Morgan has been in B I thought it would be a great plot, but the handling of it wasn't that great. Leah testified against a criminal and it's his lifelong goal to find her and personally kill her, so his two henchman are on her trail, one named Bleak. She knew them both when she worked as a pilot for the bad guy. She has a new love in her life, a pilot of a water plane who guides tourists as she now does too, so lots of outdoor ME sites. Once a wife, mother, and witness to a gruesome crime, Nina Morgan has been in hiding for a decade as Leah Trenton. She left behind her Midwestern roots to move to the northernmost tip of Maine. She also left behind a family. Living a fairly isolated life along the banks of the Allagash River, she is determined to focus on the present, on her reclaimed future, but the demons of her past are relentlessly chipping away at Leah's protected hideaway. Then, in the wake of their father's untimely death, Leah's children call and she rushes to them in the guise of 'Aunt Leah'. They embark on a cross country journey but before they reach their destination, danger finds them and it is Leah who must come out of her seclusion to search for and protect her children.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Steve

    After ten years in hiding to protect her family Nina Morgan/Leah Trenton's husband dies in a car crash triggering a plan for her children to contact "Aunt Leah" as their only remaining family not knowing she is actually their mom. When Leah takes custody of her kids the forces that sent her into hiding notice and start to come after her again. When she realizes this she makes a call to someone that may be able to help setting in motion other forces that may be out to help her or may want somethi After ten years in hiding to protect her family Nina Morgan/Leah Trenton's husband dies in a car crash triggering a plan for her children to contact "Aunt Leah" as their only remaining family not knowing she is actually their mom. When Leah takes custody of her kids the forces that sent her into hiding notice and start to come after her again. When she realizes this she makes a call to someone that may be able to help setting in motion other forces that may be out to help her or may want something for themselves. Mostly taking place in the wilds of Maine, Leah's adopted home, and involving former special operations contractors and a hired killer keeping the family business alive there are quite a few intriguing characters in this book that kept me engaged in the story and their back stories. Some of the choices made by Leah and her kids were a little questionable based on their situations but were necessary to keep the plot moving forward and I enjoyed this novel. I received a free copy of this book through the Goodreads First Reads giveaways.

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