Set a few months or a few years from now, novelist Lee Jackson’s portrait of America is a very familiar one. People carry their ID cards wherever they go. Gas is expensive and the value of the dollar has dropped so far that even rural areas like Redemption, Montana, have thriving black markets, barter economies, and high unemployment. But otherwise, life in the small town goes on day by day. And terrorism is a constant worry across the country, even in a town three thousand miles from New York City with a population of only three hundred. Ben Trinity hitchhikes into Redemption during a snowstorm with a story about a parole-mandated job on the West Coast that he’s never going to make. His story earns him a job as a handyman at Carlene Ryton’s roadside diner and a place to sleep, and once he clears it with Homeland Security—the top law enforcement agency in the United States—he tries to settle in as best he can. But hiding in plain sight is no easy task for a convict, much less a terrorist, which is what the government says Ben is, and it’s only a matter of time before the locals find out who he is.
Never tried, let alone convicted—due process has been suspended in the United States—Ben contends that he is innocent, and he may be, but does he have enough strength and conviction left to prove it?
Lee Jackson’s engaging thriller is both a powerful cautionary tale and a mesmerizing portrait of an unlikely hero.
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Lee Jackson is an American writer living in New Zealand.