The Island

Adrian McKinty. Little, Brown, $28 (384p) ISBN 978-0-316-53128-3

Deliverance meets The Road Warrior in this harrowing survival thriller set in Australia from bestseller McKinty (The Chain). Heather, a 24-year-old Seattle massage therapist, has recently married surgeon Tom Baxter, a widower who’s 20 years her senior. She’s also taken on the responsibility of caring for Tom’s children, 14-year-old Olivia and 12-year-old Owen. Olivia and Owen view Heather as “too young to be a real mom,” and Heather agrees. When Tom is invited to give the keynote speech at a medical conference in Melbourne, he packs up the family, saying they can make a mini vacation of the trip. Given the incessant demands of the kids to see koalas and kangaroos, Tom agrees to pay an exorbitant sum to take a ferry to a small private island, which turns out to be the home of the unsavory O’Neil family. A penknife Heather received as a gift from an Aboriginal man on the mainland comes in handy after an accidental road death leads the vengeful O’Neils to target the Baxters. How Heather and the children wind up pooling their abilities to stay alive against all odds makes for an exhilarating ride. McKinty is a master of suspense. Agent: Shane Salerno, Story Co. (May)
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