Even Steven) falls back on one of his familiar themes—young person in peril—for this rousing, if hokey, adventure set in Ut"/>
 

SCOTT FREE

John Gilstrap, Author
John Gilstrap, Author . Atria $25 (368p) ISBN 978-0-671-78686-1
Reviewed on: 12/23/2002
Release date: 02/01/2003

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.)

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