Book Review: Those Who Wish Me Dead – Michael Koryta

Those Who Wish Me Dead cover

Title: Those Who Wish Me Dead
Author: Michael Koryta
ISBN: 9780316122559
Pages: 400
Release Date: June 3, 2014
Publisher:Little, Brown & Co.
Genre: Thriller
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5


When Jace witnesses a brutal murder, he is whisked into the Witness Protection Program in order to protect him from the horrible men who want him dead. But as Jace is just 14 years old, his parents have to approve his participation, and they choose not to. In frustration, the U.S. Marshal in charge of Jace’s case goes to Ethan, a man she knows from her past who runs a survival training camp for troubled teenage boys in the forests of Montana. But Ethan doesn’t realize how dangerous the men after Jace are, nor the lengths they’ll go to in order to get to the boy, and the fateful decision to take Jace in might put everything and everyone Ethan loves in danger.

Snapshot Review:

Koryta’s latest novel heightens tension with every page as he writes brilliant and three-dimensional characters who must survive the wilderness and what it hides.

Full Review:

Michael Koryta writes ambitious, atmospheric, and lyrical thrillers; Those Who Wish Me Dead is no exception. We start with young Jace, a seemingly ordinary teenage boy who has the misfortune to witness a murder. What’s more, the perpetrators—the Blackwell brothers—are absolutely ruthless and will stop at nothing to silence Jace for good. Koryta does an amazing job getting the reader into the head of this seemingly helpless teenager. It’s interesting to watch him grow over the course of the novel, finding an inner strength from Ethan’s teachings, and doing what he needs to in order to stay alive.

The Blackwell brothers are, quite frankly, terrifying in Those Who Wish Me Dead. They seem to be a pair of sociopaths, killing their way across the country with no conscience. The way they speak, as if they live in their own world and everyone else occupies a secondary plane, only heightens this creepy feeling. Koryta does a great job with his villains; though they are quite human, they seem almost otherworldly in their brutality, but also their resourcefulness.

Koryta keeps the tension high throughout Those Who Wish Me Dead. Though the book is over 400 pages, it feels much shorter; it flies by as readers become involved in the story, intent on knowing whether Ethan and Jace will be okay. The novel also features a few secondary characters—three-dimensional women, a rare thing in a thriller, especially in multiples—whom readers will cling to as they breathlessly race through this novel.

If you haven’t read Michael Koryta yet, you absolutely should. He writes thoughtful and deep novels, with amazing character development, yet they are still exciting and suspenseful enough to firmly reside in the thriller genre. I’ve enjoyed every novel of his I’ve read, each different than the last, and I look forward to seeing what he does next.

Other books by Michael Koryta:

The Cypress House
The Prophet

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  1. Oh my gosh I have this one and can not wait to read it.. the cover totally sold me, synopsis is the icing on the cake!

  2. trish422 says:

    The way you write about the brothers has me very interested. They sound shuddery.

  3. Just listened to this on audio a couple of months ago – it won an Audie, so if audio is your thing, it’s a good one! I found one of the twists a little too over the top for my tastes, but it was still a solid read.

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