From School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Chris Russo wakes up in a dark basement tied to a chair. He is being held captive by Derek Brannick, who demands the truth about the shooting death of his younger brother Caleb at Chris's hands. He threatens to cut all of Chris's fingers off with garden shears if not told the truth. Eight nights ago, Caleb broke into Chris's home. Chris felt he had no choice but to shoot him in self-defense to protect his mom and younger brother, Devon. He appointed himself the man of the house after his police officer dad was killed in the line of duty. He focused his life on Devon's Little League games and overall well-being. He became an overnight local hero for shooting Caleb, whom he learned was a 13-year-old runaway. The teen was instantly invited into the popular cliques and received by his crush Rita before his kidnapping. Chris eventually tells the truth, and the reveal will be unexpected for readers. This YA thriller by Edgar Award nominee Johnston often feels predictable and redundant. Some readers may have issues with the background roles that the parents have. Detective Fyfe may be accused of perpetrating dirty and crooked police stereotypes. VERDICT Recommended for readers who enjoy edgy thrillers.—Donald Peebles, New York Black Librarians Caucus
"A tough, fast, twisty little brawler of a book."" - Booklist
"This captivating thriller keeps the pacing fast, the tension high, and the emotions raw" - Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Recommended for readers who enjoy edgy thrillers" - School Library Journal
"An excellent novel that will keep the reader going and guessing up until the very end."
" - VOYA Magazine