Genre: Mystery/Thriller and Suspense
Nick Walker is part of the Portland County Sheriff’s Office Search And Rescue (SAR) team. His team leader, Mitchell Wiggins calls him out along with fellow SAR members, Ruby McClure and Alexis Frost. Nick has been part of SAR for two months, something that he loves because it reminds him of his dad, a soldier who died in Iraq. For Nick, SAR is a stepping stone to enlisting in the army.
They are driven to the crime site by adult adviser Jon Partridge to search for a missing seven year old girl named Mariana Chavez. They eventually find the little girl hiding by the side of the road, but it is too late to grab her, because Mariana rushes out of her hiding place when she sees them and is immediately struck by a pickup truck and is seriously injured. This event becomes very important later on in the story.
Back at the sheriff’s office they discuss some of the problems that occurred at the accident site. When he arrives at home, Nick finds his older brother Kyle is not home nor is his mother. In the morning Nick sees numerous police cars race down his street. He receives a second call out to a crime scene just six blocks from his home. In this case a young woman has been found dead in a vacant field. Nick, Alexis and Ruby are once again called upon along with other SAR members to locate any possible evidence at the crime scene.When Nick meets Detective Paul Harriman he tells him that he drove by the lot late last night after the callout. Harriman asks Nick if he saw anything unusual but Nick tells him he cannot remember anything out of the ordinary.
During the search the SAR team find a mitten and other items. When Nick unexpectedly has to crawl through an area soaked with the victim’s blood, he starts to become woozy. Ruby helps him regain control but not before he has placed his glove down on a partial footprint, smearing it. This makes Nick distraught, but Alexis tries to comfort him, while Ruby explains why he gets sick at the sight of blood. Harriman is not pleased at what happened because this turns out to be the only print they find.
The police are able to identify the woman and they learn that she was involved in an altercation with her boyfriend, at a bar. When Paul Harriman and his partner, Rich Meeker interview the boyfriend however, they finds no discrepancies in his story, meaning they have no suspects. But when the DNA results come back from the crime lab, they point to Nick Walker. It turns out that male DNA was found on the swabs and clippings of victim’s right hand. In Oregon, familial DNA searches are allowed and a search in the state database locates a match to Nick’s father.
Armed with this information, Detective Harriman decides to call Nick Walker out of school on the pretense that he needs to give a witness statement. However, Harriman motives are much more than just that. Nick is considered a suspect not only because of the DNA match but also because he was near the crime scene at the time the lady was attacked and because he ruined the only print found at the sight. He begins to ask Nick questions and eventually Nick’s enthusiasm gives way to horror as he realizes he is being accused by Harriman of killing the victim. Confronted by three interrogators, Nick becomes increasingly agitated and then learns in a most brutal way, the truth about his family. Scared Nick has no one to turn to. However one of his friends from SAR figures out what is happening and knowing he’s innocent, is determined to help Nick.
Read the book to see if Nick is really innocent or not and who the killed the young lady.