This was my first Andrew Klavan book. I now look forward to reading others. I'm not a young adult, in fact I'm 66, a long way from the 16-year-old who tells this story, but it held my interest. The central character, Will, sees himself as a typical teenager, no hero, not that religious, just checking off his high school's service requriement. As the book unfolds he displays courage and decency in a variety of hair-raising situations, and still manages to sound and react in ways that are age-appropriate, to these old ears at least.
The book is not only about what happens to Will and how he steps up, but about the pilot sent to retrieve Will and his small youth group after a week-long mission trip in a central American country ripe for yet another revolution. The pilot says he is an ex-Marine, never mind the saying, "once a Marine, always a Marine." The man has lost faith in pretty much everything, seemingly, but a young woman accompanying the teens isn't willing to accept that. Church groups take trips like this all the time, and that part of the book is believable.
The story opens in a cantina where the group and their youth pastor are waiting to be picked up to go home. The illusion of safety and security evaporates when their waiter is shot dead before their eyes on the first or second page, right after Klavan makes you start to like the guy.
Be prepared for things to get a lot worse before they get better, but along the way Klavan tells a great story, manages to keep the suspense going,shows much about human nature, the nature of faith, and of what's still good about America.