Those Who Wish Me Dead Review
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Whether he’s writing drama or mystery or supernatural suspense, Michael Koryta is a reliable author—one who never fails to craft a captivating story. For his latest novel, Those Who Wish Me Dead, he leads readers on a treacherous journey into the wilderness—and despite the dangers you’ll face there, you’ll be entirely unable to turn back.

Those Who Wish Me Dead takes place in the mountains of Montana, where Ethan Serbin runs a wilderness survival program for troubled young boys. As another summer approaches, Ethan is asked to take on a special case: 13-year-old Jace Wilson. Jace is the only living witness who can identify a pair of ruthless killers known as the Blackwell Brothers—and until they’re behind bars, Jace isn’t safe.

Though his wife, Allison, has a bad feeling about the arrangement, Ethan can’t say no. But when the boy arrives, the killers aren’t far behind. And all that’s standing between them and Jace are the Serbins and the troubled young woman manning the fire lookout tower.

While some novels place their focus on just one element—whether it’s atmosphere or characters or suspense—Those Who Wish Me Dead somehow manages to cover all the bases.

Koryta begins by setting a chilling stage. The Montana wilderness may be grand and beautiful, but it’s also remote and even deadly—especially with the summer’s constant threat of storms and forest fires. And that natural setting gives the story more obstacles, more challenges, and added tension, as characters face adversaries that are both human and natural.

But it’s not just the environment that sets the tone for the story. While the natural surroundings can be both beautiful and menacing, the Blackwell Brothers add to the chilling tone. Not only are they ruthlessly deadly, but there’s also something eerie about them—about the way they act, the way they talk, and the way they go about the business of terrorizing their victims. There’s something almost otherworldly about these villains—and that makes the novel more than just suspenseful; it makes it haunting, too.

Of course, there are also noble characters—like Ethan, who’s motivated by his concern for others, and Jace, a scared but smart kid who grows in strength and courage as his story plays out. But the best characters come where you least expect them. In fact, Those Who Wish Me Dead may focus on the male characters, but it’s really a book of strong women—especially Allison, who refuses to give up, no matter what she’s forced to endure, and Hannah, who fights to get Jace to safety in order to make amends for mistakes that still haunt her. And it’s their strength and selflessness that make the story such a powerful one.

Those Who Wish Me Dead is so much more than just another thriller. It’s a gripping tale of good versus evil, of man versus nature, of blind vengeance and relentless bravery—another memorable read by an exceptional literary talent.

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