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Those Who Wish Me Dead Hardcover – June 3, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Koryta, a widely praised veteran of cross-genre tales, has upped his game with this stand-alone’s seamless blend of western-wilderness thriller and mainstream crime fiction, with a prickly dab of horror. Ethan Serbin, an elite survival-skills instructor during his Air Force career, now runs a similar program for troubled teens in the Montana wilderness. Without warning, a former student reappears, pleading with Ethan to take on a special student. Jace Wilson witnessed the terrifyingly calculating Blackwell brothers committing murder, and he’s in hiding until he can testify. In Ethan’s camp, the former student reasons, Jace will be off the grid and protected by one of the few men certain to help him survive. Ethan agrees, and once the teens arrive that summer with Jace hidden among them, it’s not long before the brothers come for him, flaunting their mystifying ability to manipulate the authorities attempting to keep Jace’s location secret. Unmatched in weapons and brutality, Jace; Ethan; his wife, Allison; and a young fire watcher named Hannah Faber battle to survive a raging wildfire and the murderous intent of a creepy pair of killers rivaling the deadly preacher in The Night of the Hunter. A must-read for fans of C. J. Box and Nevada Barr. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Combine Koryta’s existing fan base, the current vogue for wilderness thrillers, and an aggressive marketing campaign, and you get a novel certain to attract a whole lot of eager readers. --Christine Tran


"Warning: Michael Koryta's wonderful, riveting, and harrowing Those Who Wish Me Dead may just move you to tears. Enjoy at your own risk."―Harlan Coben, #1 bestselling author of Missing You and Six Years

"The summer of 2014 brings Those Who Wish Me Dead, a lean, propulsive action-adventure thriller with a raging forest fire as its backdrop and with much more finesse than that description might suggest. The ingenious tricks and conversational wit of Those Who Wish Me Dead don't usually come with this territory....Attitude is one of Mr. Koryta's strongest attributes. He barges through this story with utter confidence, which makes its bravado impossible to resist."―Janet Maslin, The New York Times

"Outstanding in every way, and a guaranteed thriller-of-the-year...Stephen King would be proud of the set up, Cormac McCarthy would be proud of the writing, and I would be proud of the action. Don't you dare miss it."―Lee Child, #1 bestselling author of Never Go Back

"Those Who Wish Me Dead is an absolutely thrilling read. I read most of it with my breath held, occasionally exhaling to ask myself, 'What will happen next?' I highly recommend it."
Kevin Powers, National Book Award Finalist and author of The Yellow Birds

"Reading Michael Koryta is like stepping into fast water. You don't know where the current will take you, only that it's strong and deep and likely to sweep you away. That's what the best fiction does, and Koryta does it better than just about anyone else."―John Hart, author of Iron House

"Absolutely breathtaking, nail-biting, and edge-of-your-seat. Michael Koryta is a master at maintaining suspense and a hell of a good writer. Those Who Wish Me Dead is one of the best chase-and-escape novels you'll read this year - or any other year. The pace never lets up."―Nelson DeMille, author of The Quest

"Michael Koryta isn't just one of the finest authors working in the crime genre today. He's simply one of today's finest authors, period. His stories are taut, compelling, and beautifully rendered. His understanding of human nature-the good, the evil, and all the gray between-is masterful. Those Who Wish Me Dead is Koryta at his best."―William Kent Krueger, author of Ordinary Grace

"Michael Koryta is a fearless stylist...a heart-thumping backwoods adventure that sends two creatively sadistic killers into Montana's Beartooth Mountains, where they spark a monster forest fire to flush out the only witness to their crimes...Koryta rigs his tripwire plot with all sorts of unpredictable characters and unforeseen events, including a "flint-and-steel" electrical storm that will make your hair stand on end. There are any number of hunting parties combing the burning woods for Jace, from the Blackwell brothers to two determined women riding an injured horse. But sitting here, heart in mouth, it sure looks as if that raging forest fire will outrun them all."―Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

"Not only does its plot sizzle with one shocking turn after another; it also involves a massive forest fire so vividly described you almost expect the edges of the pages to be scorched...Koryta builds the book's suspense with impressive skill, shifting among different characters' points of view to keep the reader constantly on edge."―Colette Bancroft, Tampa Bay Times

"Michael Koryta is that rare author who is at once a compelling story teller and a fantastic writer. From the first sentence of Those Who Wish Me Dead, you'll be under his spell. His characters are living, breathing people you'll care about; his setting is a place you'll visit and stay -- long after you've decided to leave because you'rescared. You can't leave; you're trapped. There are too many nerve-jangling, beautifully written, razor sharp moments and you won't want to miss a single one. This is an absolute sizzler."―Lisa Unger, author of In the Blood

"Wow! An absolutely first rate novel. More than just an edge-of-your-seat, adrenaline-fueled story of life and death and survival in the Montana wilderness. Those Who Wish Me Dead is what every reader hopes for each time they start a book. A smart, surprising, and emotionally engaging experience that simply does not let up. Ever!"―Christopher Reich, author of Rules of Deception

"This book captured me. Here are two bad guys so bad, so well drawn, that I wanted to avert my eyes--but I didn't want to miss a beat of this sharp thriller. This is a smart big book with what are called twists and turns, but which are really terrific surprises in every deepening layer. Young Jace's journey to survive is a gripping rush. I know not to run in the woods but I wanted to tell him: run, woods or not, just run!"―Ron Carlson, author of The Signal

"Those Who Wish Me Dead is beautifully written, perfectly paced, expertly structured, and simply unputdownable. Koryta is an absolute master."―Deon Meyer, author of Seven Days

"If you want an elegantly written, taut thriller with an amazing sense of place, then look no further.... It's a well-written book..., but it's also a cracking page-turner and a truly immersive experience."―Madhulika Sikka, NPR Books

"This novel is brilliantly orchestrated. Also crucial to its success is Koryta's mastery of the beautiful but threatening setting, including a mountain fire's ability to electrify the ground, radiate a lethal force field-and create otherworldly light shows. Summer reading doesn't get better than this."―Kirkus (starred review)

"Koryta, a widely-praised veteran of cross-genre tales, has upped his game with this stand-alone's seamless blend of western-wilderness thriller and mainstream crime fiction, with a prickly dab of horror...Combine Koryta's existing fan base, the current vogue for wilderness thrillers, and an aggressive marketing campaign, and you get a novel certain to attract a whole lot of eager readers."―Christine Tran, Booklist (starred review)

"More than outstanding, this book will have you jumping from one chapter to another as the fire races across the mountains, as Jace and Hannah try to survive, and while Ethan tries to keep both killers away from Jace...This thriller had me glued to the words, not wanting to do anything else but finish this book. Koryta pens a novel that will leave you gasping along with the characters.This is excellent and one I recommend. Absolutely without a doubt."―Suspense Magazine

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (June 3, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316122556
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316122559
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.4 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (510 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #110,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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More About the Author

Michael Koryta (pronounced Ko-ree-ta) is the New York Times-bestselling author of 11 suspense novels. His work has been praised by Stephen King, Michael Connelly, Lee Child, Dean Koontz, James Patterson, Dennis Lehane, Daniel Woodrell, Ron Rash, and Scott Smith among many others, and has been translated into more than 20 languages. His books have won or been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, Edgar® Award, Shamus Award, Barry Award, Quill Award, International Thriller Writers Award, and the Golden Dagger. They've been selected as "best books of the year" by publications as diverse as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal,, O the Oprah Magazine, Entertainment Weekly, People, Reader's Digest, iBooks, and Kirkus Reviews.

His recent thriller Those Who Wish Me Dead was named the summer's best thriller by both Amazon and Entertainment Weekly, and was selected as one of the year's best books by more than 10 publications. The audio version was named one of the best audio books of the year, as well, the second time that Robert Petkoff's narration of Michael's work has earned such an honor. The novel is currently being adapted as a major motion picture by 20th Century Fox.

Michael's previous work ranges from a trio of supernatural novels--So Cold the River, The Cypress House, and The Ridge, which were all named New York Times notable books of the year and earned starred reviews from Publishers Weekly--to stand-alone crime novels such as The Prophet (A New York Times bestseller) and Envy the Night (selected as a Reader's Digest condensed book), to a series of award-winning novels featuring private investigator Lincoln Perry--Tonight I Said Goodbye, Sorrow's Anthem, A Welcome Grave, and The Silent Hour.

Various film and television adaptations of the books are underway, with The Prophet, So Cold the River, The Cypress House, and Those Who Wish Me Dead all optioned as feature films, and the Lincoln Perry series and The Ridge being developed for television. Michael has written for the screen in both feature film and television. Oscar and Emmy winners are attached to every project.

Before turning to writing full-time, Michael worked as a private investigator and as a newspaper reporter, and taught at the Indiana University School of Journalism. He began working for a private investigator as an intern while in high school, turned it into his day job in the early stages of his writing career, and still maintains an interest in the firm. As a journalist, he won numerous awards from the Society of Professional Journalists.

Michael's first novel, the Edgar-nominated Tonight I Said Goodbye was accepted for publication when he was 20 years old. He wrote his first two published novels before graduating from college, and was published in nearly 10 languages before he fulfilled the "writing requirement" classes required for his diploma.

Michael was raised in Bloomington, Indiana, where he graduated from Bloomington North High School in 2001, and later graduated from Indiana University with a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. In 2008 he was honored as a "distinguished young alumni" by Indiana University, and in 2010 he was named "distinguished alumni' by the criminal justice department.

Michael's passions outside of writing and reading involve a variety of outdoor pursuits - hiking, camping, boating, and fishing are all likely to occupy his free time when he's not working on a new book. Some of his favorite spots in the world are the Beartooth Mountains, the setting of Those Who Wish Me Dead and a place to which he returns at least twice a year; the flowages of the Northwoods in Wisconsin, where he began fishing with his father as a child and still returns each fall; St. Petersburg, FL, where he lived part-time for 8 years, and southern Maine. Although he loves to travel, he stills claims his native Bloomington, Indiana as home and has a great love of the area, its diversity and culture, and the natural beauty of the surrounding countryside. He lives in Bloomington with his wife, Christine, a cranky cat named Marlowe, an emotionally disturbed cat named John Pryor (long story on that name), and an exceedingly athletic dog of unknown heritage named Lola. He remains on the never-ending quest for the world's best microbrew (Upland in Bloomington is a perennial contender) and the world's best coffee (currently a tie between Kahwa in St. Petersburg and the Runcible Spoon in Bloomington).

Research has always been a driving passion of Michael's approach, leading him from big-cat rescues with the Exotic Feline Rescue Center ( to wilderness survival schools and caving trips and hypnotism. He can be followed via, twitter @mjkoryta, and Facebook.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

74 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Melissa VINE VOICE on June 3, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Jace Wilson was in the wrong place at the wrong time when he witnessed the Blackwell brothers commit a brutal murder. He managed to escape these killers once, but if he is found again, there will be no second escape. The Blackwell brothers are known for their swift, ruthless, and flawless executions. Not even the authorities know who they are, only the destruction they leave behind. Believing that his best chance of survival is to be off the grid, Jace enters a wilderness survival program for troubled teens run by Ethan Serbin and his wife Allison. But once the Blackwell brothers know his location, not even the wilderness and a raging forest fire will stop their ruthless pursuit to eliminate the one person who can identify them. With great suspense, shocking twists, and lots of thrills, Those Who Wish Me Dead is another fantastic novel by Michael Koryta.

Those Who Wish Me Dead is great for an evening of escapist entertainment. While there is a healthy amount of drama, suspense, and thrills, this book is a smooth and easy read. It is complex enough to keep the reader guessing, but not so deep as to require a tremendous amount of mental energy. It's the perfect book for setting aside obligations and losing oneself for a few hours of fighting for survival in the Montana wilderness.

The characters in this book are excellent. Jace is immediately likable. He is a wonderful combination of self-doubt, courage, and initiative. Even though he shares the lead with several characters, Jace pretty much carries this book. While most of the remaining characters are trying to protect Jace, there is no forced sympathy or attempt to make the reader feel sorry for Jace.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By William Varnell on June 16, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like well-written thrillers and this is one. My wife doesn't think that "literature" and "action-adventure" belong together, but I think this writer proves her wrong. The characters are nuanced and Mr. Koryta assumes that you are smart enough to figure where things are headed. The bad guys are some of the creepiest I've read in a few years, and I'd be surprised if you don't empathize with the regular people they come in contact with. The main characters are enjoyable and the backstories are well done. The description of a forest fire and tossed out tidbits of arcane information on fires and firefighting are worth the cost of the book. The ending pages are particularly moving. I wouldn't be surprised to see this made into a movie in a few years.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By deb on June 3, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
I received this e-galley free from Net Galley and Little Brown in exchange for an honest review. Thank you both for the opportunity!!

Wow, I love Michael Koryta's books and was excited to receive this one. This one took off at the beginning and never slowed down. I read it in one sitting. I had to, I couldn't put it down!!

The story of a 15 year old kid who sees a crime being committed by two brothers dressed in police uniforms takes you on an incredible ride from Indiana, the scene of the crime, to the Montana mountains. The mountains are where much of the action takes place and where you see how truly evil these brothers can be. They care about nothing or no one, only about each other and getting the job done leaving a trail of death and destruction in their paths.

Your heart will pound and your pulse will race throughout this whole book. Don't read it late at night unless you want to stay up all night.
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32 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Rett01 VINE VOICE on June 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I’m tempted to cut author Michael Koryta some slack. “Those Who Wish Me Dead” thrums with enough energy and action that if you’re like me, you’ll almost but not quite overlook all the things implausible he crams into his narrative of grit and survival.

The opening sentence is a zinger, “On the last day of Jace Wilson’s life, the fourteen-year-old stood on a quarry ledge staring at cool, still water and finally understood something his mother had told him years before . . .”

The rock quarry happens to be the wrong place and the kid is there at the wrong time when he witnesses a gruesome murder and is spotted by the killers. He’s quickly slipped into a witness protection program and hidden with a new name and identity in a Montana wilderness survival school developed for teens in trouble.

“You truly will not let the boy be pursued here? You believe you can guarantee that,” asks the survival program’s leader Ethan Serbin. “One hundred percent,” replies Jamie Bennett when proposing to hide the boy in Serbin’s program. You can bet right then that the killers are already in hot pursuit and closing in on their teenage prey.

The killers, two hellishly evil brothers, have already left a trail of slaughter and they’re as determined as a pair of hungry relentless predators running a terrified rabbit to ground. That pursuit is one hell of a thrill ride that includes a rampaging forest fire, a lighting storm so palatable is almost makes you react with a flinch and a desperate getaway on horseback through the burning terrain.

All of it is a great pump of adrenalin – it’s just too bad that Koryta keeps throwing “surprises” and reversals at you that verge on derailing the story and turning a truly gripping read into something that almost feels lifted from the pages last Saturday’s comic book. What might have been riveting gets doused with too much melodrama.
In a word: Almost
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