Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Very Cold Kiss...

Nate and his pregnant girlfriend Sara are driving from Minnesota to Reno, seeking a new life for themselves and their baby. On a snowy night in Nebraska, they see a man in a cafe who is obviously very sick. Sara takes pity on the man and when the stranger offers them $500 for a ride into Omaha, the kids accept.

The three drive off into a major winter storm and are forced to seek refuge in a run-down motel out in the middle of nowhere. On getting out of the car, Nate and Sara discover to their horror that their passenger has died. They are further stunned to discover that the passenger, Syl, has over $2 million in cash in his suitcase. Of course the kids should call the cops, report the tragic death of their passenger and hand over the money. But then, of course, the book would end at the conclusion of chapter two.

Tempted by the sight of all that money, Nate and Sara begin to imagine the life they might have if they were to simply dump Syl's body, wait for the plows to clear the roads and take off with the cash. Unfortunately for them, apparently neither Nate nor Sara has read Scott Smith's, A Simple Plan. Nor has either one of them ever seen the movie that was made from Smith's book, and thus they have no idea that keeping the money is a really, really, really bad idea.

Needless to say, complications ensue. As one might expect, the other stranded guests consist of the usual group of fine folks that one expects to encounter when stranded in a third-rate motel, miles from civilization trapped by the blizzard of the century.

The plot is hardly new, but Rector makes it seem fresh. This is a taut, lean book that grabs you early on and refuses to let go. Practically from page one, you're screaming at Nate and Sara, begging them not to make one bad decision after another. But even though they consistently reject your sound advice, you can't abandon them, and you can't rest until you see where the consequences of their actions finally take them.

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