Britt and her best friend Korbie are driving to Korbie’s family’s cabin in the Teton Mountains for a girls-only wilderness experience. The fly in the ointment is Korbie’s brother Calvin – also Britt’s former boyfriend – who has been ordered to chaperone the two girls up in the mountains. However, the anticipated tensions and difficulties arrive much sooner than expected when the girls are forced to abandon their jeep in a snowstorm and seek refuge in the nearest habitation. The two occupants, Jude and Shaun, are on the run and take the girls hostage in order to have safe passage off the mountain.
Fitzpatrick toys skilfully with the readers’ sympathies and it is not until much later in the narrative that the true heroes and villains emerge. Meanwhile, we are taken on a rollercoaster ride of fear, courage and betrayal, laced with acts of random violence from Shaun which serve as a sharp reminder of the extreme danger the girls are in. Britt is forced to guide the two men off the mountain whilst Korbie is left locked in a room without sufficient food or water.
A careful dance of attraction is choreographed between Jude and Britt, paralleled by Britt’s deepest conviction that she is betraying the memory of her former relationship with Calvin. Fitzpatrick then confounds the reader with irony by revealing Calvin as the real villain of the piece and Jude as the man determined to avenge his murdered sister, who died by Calvin’s hand.
The book contains a good deal of violence and threat and builds claustrophobic settings to increase tension. When Jude is revealed as the hero he did not at first appear to be, it only heightens the poignancy of the narrative, since he must effectively vanish until the police hunt is abandoned.
Had the ending been left with the distant hope that one day Jude and Britt would meet again, this would have chimed in beautifully with the tenor of their relationship – fused so dramatically and brought to fruition in the white heat of danger. However, Fitzpatrick has instead allowed the two to meet a year later and the subsequent rather saccharine ending belies the many strengths of the rest of the book.