A review by Steve E. Clark
Tanya has a mysterious benefactor who doesn’t seem exactly glad to hear from her, but wires her cash and a fake ID, as she hits the road from Wisconsin. She winds up in Austin, Texas where she meets a bartender named Blue—for her magnificent blue eyes. Blue seems eager to help and somewhat against her better judgement Tanya lets Blue become involved in her life and indeed spills her story. Lutz however skillfully withholds the story from us. When her mysterious helper sends people to kill her, it’s Blue who comes to Tanya’s rescue, uniting the two women for the rest of the book.
The girls switch identities and Tanya now has the credentials to be a school teacher, although she can’t teach in a public school because her fingerprints don’t match those the state has on record. Never mind that she’s never taught.
Tanya/Jo manages to get a gig in a tiny town in Wyoming at a private school. Tanya has not been to college but she manages to fake her way through teaching third graders and becomes quite popular with the kids, especially after saving one from drowning. Maybe this says something about the qualifications to teach school. In any event it turns out that Blue has not done her such a big favor when Blue’s husband shows up after tracing Tanya through Blue’s teaching credentials. Up to this point Tanya is merely a refugee but the thug’s appearance turns her into a killer. Now truly on the run Tanya goes through an incredible series of escapes living in some of the most unimaginable places and committing petty crime to keep herself eating.
Crimes and trespassing eventually put Jo back on the police radar and she decides she must return home to face the consequences of the original acts that caused her to flee. She meets up again with Blue who has repaid Jo for killing her husband by smoothing the return and we finally get the explanation of what set the escape in motion.
The ending is plausible and a satisfying surprise and we were left with the hope that Jo can put her life back together. The travel scenes get a little tedious but the flashbacks all work—giving you just enough information to keep plowing ahead. The Passenger gets a four star recommendation. It’s a fast read and a great way to spend a winter weekend.
Steve E. Clark is a best selling author as seen in the New York Times. He is author of the Kristen Kerry Novels Of Suspense series. You can pick up his first book Justice Is for the Lonely here, or ask for it at your local book store. Justice Is for the Deserving is coming out in Fall 2016.
You can learn more about Steve Clark here. Steve is also an attorney at Clark+Mitchell in Oklahoma City.