"At All Costs" is the first of John Gilstrap's novels I have read and certainly after lapping up this page turner, I'll be soon coming back for more.
Jake and Carolyn Donovan are on the run from the FBI and have headed the agency's most wanted list for the last 14 years. Wrongly suspected of being behind the deaths of a dozen or so chemical workers at a disused military base, Jake and Carolyn have disappear into everyday America with much thanks to Carolyn's rich and resourceful Uncle Harry.
Harry's last word of advice to them before they went was not to have any children as this would make their disappearance more difficult. Fortunately for the Donavans but unfortunately for their cover, they were blessed with a boy called Travis who is now 13 and knows nothing of his parents past.
At work one day, Jake's garage is busted by the FBI in a unconnected drugs raid. Jake is arrested and although shortly released, when his fingerprints are processed the FBI realise who they have just let gone and as quick to begin their pursuit of the Donovans all over again.
It's with this explosive beginning that the first several chapters just fly by as the Donovans must once again flee the authorities. There are some excellent passages amongst these, the one where Jake goes to pick Travis up from his high school is brilliant in the way it raises the tension.
I did feel the book slightly lost its way in the middle when the explanation for what really happened 13 years ago is revealed. I felt that although the theory was credible the way that Jake presented it to the FBI was based on pure conjecture and had no hard evidence, and yet the investigator believed him at first look.
The ending of the book is back to the 100 miles an hour pace again although perhaps the final shoot out was a little unnecessary with far too much blood, guts and death.
All in all though an excellent pacey thriller and I will certainly be looking out for this author again.