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North of Nowhere by Allison Brennan


Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: August 8th, 2023

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Mystery Thriller, Fiction, Suspense, Contemporary, Family, Crime, Action

Purchase Links: Kindle | Audible | B&N | AbeBooks | WorldCat

Goodreads Synopsis:

New York Times bestseller Allison Brennan’s latest standalone is an unputdownable race to the dramatic finish.

After five years in hiding from their murderous father, the day Kristen and Ryan McIntyre have been dreading has arrived: Boyd McIntyre, head of a Los Angeles crime family, has at last tracked his kids to a small Montana town and is minutes away from kidnapping them. They barely escape in a small plane, but gunfire hits the fuel line. The pilot, a man who has been raising them as his own, manages to crash land in the middle of the Montana wilderness. The siblings hike deep into the woods, searching desperately for safety—unaware of the severity of the approaching storm.

Boyd’s sister Ruby left Los Angeles for the Army years ago, cutting off contact in order to help keep her niece and nephew safe and free from the horrors of the McIntyre clan. So when she gets an emergency call that the plane has gone down with the kids inside, she drops everything to try save them.

As the storm builds, Ruby isn’t the only person looking for them. Boyd has hired an expert tracker to find and bring them home. And rancher Nick Lorenzo, who knows these mountains better than anyone and doesn’t understand why the kids are running, is on their trail too.

But there is a greater threat to Kristen and Ryan out there. More volatile than the incoming blizzard, more dangerous than the family they ran from or the natural predators they could encounter. Who finds them first could determine if they live or die. . .

First Line:

Tony Reed was alive today because he always listened to his gut.

North of Nowhere by Allison Brennan

For five years, Kristen and Ryan lived under an assumed name in the small town of Big Sky, Montana. For five years, Tony had kept them safe from those who should have protected them. But it is all over when Tony notices strangers in town. The children’s father, the head of a crime family, has found them and is coming to take them back. When their escape plan is derailed thanks to someone shooting at the airplane and striking the fuel line and Tony injured, the children strike out on their own, not knowing that a blizzard is about to descend on Big Sky. With their father, aunt, and a local rancher on their trail, it is a matter of time before someone catches up with them. But it isn’t their father, the storm, or the wildlife that the children have to worry about. Something more dangerous than the wildlife and the storm await them back on the ranch. Will the children escape?

I had seen Out of Nowhere floating around the blogosphere for a while. While I was interested, this was a book that I would eventually read in my own time. So, you can imagine my surprise when I got an email from St. Martin’s Press with a widget attached. I was even more surprised when I realized I had requested this book from their influencer program and forgot about it.

North of Nowhere is a fast-paced book set in the state of Montana. The pacing of this book fits the storyline. There was little lag, and the author was able to keep the main focus on the three different storylines.

The main storyline of North of Nowhere centered around the kids (Kristen and Ryan), Boyd, Ruby, and Nick. The story is told through the eyes (3rd person) of Kristen, Boyd, Ruby, and Nick. I am not a fan of multiple storylines or storylines that swap back and forth between characters, but in this case, it worked. The more urgent the storyline became, the more the author switched between the characters.

What I also liked about this book is that the characters were human. Take, for instance, Tony and Boyd. They both were ruthless killers, and they had some psychopathic tendencies. But, and I stress but, they were willing to set those tendencies aside for the kids. Tony did this for five years, and Boyd did it while searching for the kids. Each of the characters, main and otherwise, was well-written and fleshed out.

The storyline of why Tony took the kids and ran was heartbreaking. I did think that the author dragged it out longer than it should have been, but it was all good with me. Kristen did annoy me with her screaming at Boyd, but in her defense, he deserved it. I also was a little irritated with Boyd and how blind he was to everything until it was almost too late. Even I knew who was behind everything.

The storyline with Boyd, his search for the kids, and everything else he did was interesting. I liked how the author first portrayed him as a mob boss going in and getting a job done (getting his kids). But, as that storyline progressed, a different side of Boyd was seen. He genuinely loved his kids and would stay in a blizzard to find them. By the end of the book, I was rooting for Boyd to do the right thing. I wasn’t expecting what happened to him. It took me by surprise.

Ruby’s storyline was complicated. I understood why she helped Tony (she discovered what Frankie was doing to Kristen). I also understood why she shut herself off from the kids (in case a situation like this happened). But, when push came to shove, she was able to face her demons (aka her mother) and help those kids out. Her refusal to do what Frankie wanted at the end of the book was a significant turning point in her storyline.

There were points in the book where I wondered why Nick was involved. But, as soon as he tracked the plane and saw what happened, I understood. Nick was the only one around who could survive the blizzard coming through. Plus, he found Boyd’s story a little fishy and wanted to ensure the kids would be safe. The author put Nick through the wringer in his storyline, but I was happy with his outcome.

The kids’ storyline was complicated and twisty. Kristen witnessed two murders by the time she was eleven. She was damaged because of that. She also knew who was behind the murder of her mother and was terrified of this person. In her five years with Tony, she learned to care for herself. More importantly, she took care of her younger brother, who was deaf.

Let’s talk about Frankie for a minute. The author discusses her quite a bit during the book’s first half. Man, she was cold and was willing to sacrifice/do whatever it took to protect the family and her business. So be it if that meant drugging a ten-year-old to become more cooperative. Frankie becomes essential towards the end of the book. She was scary, manipulative, and just plain evil.

The thriller angle of North of Nowhere kept me on the edge of my seat. The author didn’t let up with it. From the escape to the book’s final scenes, I felt I couldn’t breathe.

The mystery angle of North of Nowhere was well written. There were some things that I figured out early in the book, and there were others that surprised me when the author revealed them. The author kept me on my toes.

The end of North of Nowhere almost seemed anti-climatic. I liked how the author wrapped everything up. I hope that the author writes another book in this universe. There were a couple of surviving people that I would love to read about.

I would recommend North of Nowhere to anyone over 21. There are no sexual situations, but there is graphic violence and language.

Many thanks to Saint Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books, NetGalley, and Allison Brennan for allowing me to read and review North of Nowhere. All opinions stated in this review are mine.

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