Never Far Away

Never Far Away – Michael Koryta

Following a brutal murder, former pilot Leah Trenton agreed to testify against her boss.  With her life in danger, Leah Trenton would fake her own death and enter into witness protection.  In doing so, she had to leave behind a husband and two small children as she relocated to a secluded home deep in the wilderness of Maine.  Now, ten years later, her husband dies unexpectedly leaving her children without a parent.  Leah must re-emerge to care for her children.  The problem?  They think she’s dead, too.  Oh, and her former boss is looking for revenge.

I received an advanced copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Never Far Away is the latest thriller from author Michael Koryta and the third book of his I’ve had the chance to read.  His 2012 novel, The Prophet, is as close to a small-town crime-fiction masterpiece as you can get but his last novel, If She Wakes, happened to be one of the least enjoyable reads I picked up in 2019 – so naturally, for Never Far Away, I had my expectations firmly in the middle.

So, how was it?  It was alright.  Koryta does a good job in slowly bringing the action from a light simmer to a boil throughout the book.  The wilderness of Maine had me pretty homesick for Nova Scotia at times given their proximity, so it was nice to be back on the east coast – if even only in my mind.  My biggest takeaway is that I don’t really feel like this one is going to stick with me for very long as it felt very much like a movie-of-the-week thriller you might catch on television on a Sunday afternoon.  It’s good popcorn entertainment, but lacks real substance.  But hey, sometimes those reads are good!  Like a great beach read or airport thriller.

If I’m being honest, I wasn’t aware that there are connections between some of Koryta’s novels.  A character in Never Far Away appeared in If She Wakes and a pair of criminals at the novel’s beginning appear in another one of Koryta’s novels.  Dax Blackwood, the aforementioned character from If She Wakes, came across great in Never Far Away and added a lot to what could have been a pretty paint-by-numbers thriller.

I’m still waiting for Koryta to knock my socks off like he did in The Prophet, so I’ll keep reading and keep comfort in knowing he has the talent to do so.  I suppose it’s just a matter of time.  And really, he has eleven other novels I could always go back and check out.

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