Never Far Away

Michael Koryta's Never Far Away opens with a nail-biting scene in which Nina Morgan is asking for contract killers to murder her--to make it look like they have, that is, using shallow cuts and lots of blood. Faking her death and disappearing by herself is the only way for her to save her husband and kids and escape being hunted by her boss, a powerful dark-business figure named Lowery, whom Nina crossed simply by telling the truth.

Ten years later, Nina has established a new, happy life as Leah Trenton, a wilderness guide in northern Maine. But then she gets a call informing her that her husband has died in a freak accident. Leah swoops into action to rescue her kids from the killers who are still out there. One problem: they don't know Leah is their "long-dead" mother. And this time, Lowery will make sure Nina actually dies.

Thrillers are only suspenseful if the stakes are high and the villains formidable, and the Blackwell men in Koryta's novels are among the most lethal in crime fiction. The Blackwell brothers from 2014's Those Who Wish Me Dead reappear at the start of this novel. Next-generation Dax Blackwell is the killer from If She Wakes, but, in a neat twist, is helpful to Leah in Never Far Away while remaining as deadly as ever. The story is hers, though: a mother who goes through her worst nightmares only to come out as fierce as those who wish her dead. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd

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