Deadfall (John Hutchinson Series #1)

Deadfall (John Hutchinson Series #1)

by Robert Liparulo


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Deep in the isolated Northwest Territories, four friends are on the trip of a lifetime. Dropped by helicopter into the remote Canadian wilderness, Hutch, Terry, Phil, and David are looking to escape the events of a tumultuous year--a bitter divorce, bankruptcy, depression, and job loss--for two weeks of hunting, fishing, and camping.

Armed only with a bow and arrow and the basics for survival, they've chosen a place far from civilization, a retreat from their turbulent lives. But they quickly discover that another group has targeted the remote region and the secluded hamlet of Fiddler Falls for a more menacing purpose: to field-test the ultimate weapon.

With more than a week before the helicopter rendezvous and no satellite phone, they must risk everything to help the townspeople who are being held hostage and terrorized.

An intense novel of character forged in the midst of struggle, survival, and sacrifice, Deadfall is highly-acclaimed author Robert Liparulo's latest rivetingly smart thriller.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781595544810
Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
Publication date: 08/05/2008
Series: John Hutchinson Series , #1
Pages: 480
Sales rank: 746,951
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

Robert Liparulo’s debut novel, Comes a Horseman, is being made into a major motion picture by producer Mace Neufeld and his short story “Kill Zone” is included in the anthology Thriller, edited by James Patterson. Robert lives in Colorado with his wife, Jodi, and their four children.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Fiddler Falls, Saskatchewan, Canada

On the north shore of the Fond du Lac River, thirty miles from

the Northwest Territories

Population: 242

The people trying to kill Roland Emery quickly closed the distance behind him.

"Back off!" Roland yelled at his rearview mirror, where the big front grille of their truck loomed.

This rutted half-road was as familiar to him as the ever-increasing contours of his face. He knew every bump, every bend, every place where the trees stepped in closer to slash at your paint or, if you really were not paying attention, kick a dent in a side panel or door. Still, the newcomers stayed on him, falling back on the turns, then roaring forward when only rough terrain stood between them. Their truck was one of those big fancy jobs, those pseudo-military monsters that ate ruts and boulders like granola.

A jolting bump gave him a glimpse of his own face in the mirror: red-rimmed eyes, bulging in fear. One of his shaking hands came off the wheel, fluttered to his face, and wiped at the oily sweat on his brow.

What do they want? he thought. No, no, no . . . That wasn't the question. The question was why? Why did they want to kill him?

Steering around each tight curve, he tried to get hold of his frenzied mind. What appeared to him, calming him, was his wife's face. Lizzie. What would happen to her if he died? Fine lady, tough as the wolverines they trapped together; but she always said what kept her going through the cold mornings checking traps and the long days guiding hunters into the hills was knowing Roland would be there at night to stoke the fire and fix a cup of Nahapi "sit down" tea just the way she liked it.

He pushed his lips together and cranked the wheel, taking the car down through a shallow stream and out the other side. He felt his panic pulling at him, trying to make him do something stupid. He squinted and forced Lizzie to fill that place in his mind instead of the terror.

He wished they had put some money aside so the old gal wouldn't have to work so hard by herself if these guys after him got their way. Thank heaven she wasn't with him now.

Oh yes, at least there was that.

She'd risen with him at five, as usual, but moving a little more slowly, with a little less spunk.

"Just a little tired's all," she'd said. "Ain't nothin'."

But he knew her. "Just a little tired" for Lizzie was "I'd better go see the doc" for most people. So he had insisted on checking the traps alone.

Which is what he had been doing when the big truck appeared, as bright yellow as a birthday balloon. He soon realized that the color had nothing to do with the owner's fun-loving disposition. Rather, it was ironic or sarcastic or one of those words that meant "you can't judge a fellow by the color of his car."

Roland had been coming back from checking yet another empty trap when he'd spotted the truck. He'd left his old Subaru right on the rutted trail since travelers in these hilly woods were nearly unheard of this time of year. The big yellow truck had been farther up, as though returning from camping. But he had seen it parked in front of Ben Mear's B&B on his way out of town. Fiddler Falls was too small for visi­tors to go unnoticed, let alone a group with a fancy machine like that.

Sure enough, he'd seen where the vehicle's wheels had pushed down the grass and some saplings on its way around the Subaru. The driver must have realized there was nothing to see but more trees along that route and turned around. He had stopped fifty yards away, as though waiting for Roland.

A man and a girl had appeared to be standing in the bed of the truck, but straps crossed over their shoulders and chests, so they must have been sitting in chairs. The chairs positioned them high enough to see over the cab's roof. And that was just weird.

He had waved, but the strangers had not waved back. Instead, the man seated in the bed had pointed at a tree between them.

The tree had exploded.

There had been the sound of thunder, a blinding flash, a wave of hot air, and the tree had disappeared. It hadn't been blown out of the ground or knocked off its trunk. It hadn't fallen into the woods or across the path. It had just . . . disintegrated. Needles and splinters and dirt had shot straight up, then rained down. The branches closest to the destroyed tree had ignited, burning like a thousand tiny torches.

Roland had fallen back into the brush, then staggered to his feet. The man's finger had swung slowly toward Roland. Roland had run around the car, hopped in, and reversed off the trail. He had turned the Subie toward town and punched the accelerator. The station wagon had coughed and sputtered, and he'd slapped his palm against the steering wheel and cursed himself for not giving it the tune-up it had wheezed for since summer.

Now it was moving pretty good, bouncing over rocks and ruts, but it was no match for the newer, bigger truck on its tail. Every now and again he'd catch a glimpse of the two heads bobbing furiously over the cab's roof. They would duck under branches hanging over the trail, and Roland thought the trees must have batted them a few good times. Still, they appeared to be laughing. When he squinted for a better look, he almost went off the road.

Finally he came out of the heavy woods and onto the dirt road that became Shatu' T'ine Way a quarter mile up: town, people, Constable Fuller. No way his pursuers would follow him there, not into the heart of Fiddler Falls. Small as it may be, witnesses were witnesses.

Weaving from side to side, too many thoughts crowding his driving etiquette, he saw the truck plow out of the trees and grow larger in the mirror.

"Not here!" he yelled out loud. "Not in town!"

He flew past the B&B, where he'd seen the truck earlier. App­roa­ch­ing the town's main street, he braked. The car's rear tires tried to slide out from under him. He gave it more gas, bumping up onto Provincial Street's blacktop. The avenue was barren. Most of the town was only now waking up. The autumn sun was still burning off the gray haze of morning twilight.

"Be there, be there," he said, speeding past the community center on his left.

His pursuers swung into view behind him. As he crossed Fife Street, he swerved to the left curb. The RCMP substation was dark. The Closed sign Tom used to inform folks he was out and about leaned against the big front window. Tom made it a point to tell everyone that he, as constable, never really closed; they simply needed to find him somewhere else.

Home , he thought. I'll go to his--

He saw Old Man Nelson sweep a plume of dust out of the general store's front door across the street. He cranked the wheel and shot to the opposite curb, but the old man had stepped back inside.

Roland grabbed for the door handle, flicking his eyes to the mirror as he did.

The truck had stopped at the intersection.

The man in the cab was pointing at him.

Everything happened at once, but for Roland, it seemed to take a lifetime. Metal ripped and tore. Glass shattered. Roland burst into flames. It wasn't that part of him caught fire and quickly spread. No, he was instantly engulfed. His arm spasmed. His fingers caught on the handle, and the door opened. He rolled out and stood, thinking what he needed to do . . . thinking . . .

His hair singed away, his flesh blistered, his blood boiled.

He was blinded by agonizing pain . . . then by the physical destruction of his eyes. He stumbled, may have fallen; he did not know. Every nerve--head to toe, skin to marrow--cried out for relief.

A thought, an image occurred to him. He was frying. He tried to scream.

He flailed his arms . . . or thought he did.


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Deadfall 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
fingerpost on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A well written thriller in which a band of six totally amoral young people take a small town hostage via their control of an astonishing space age weapon. A band of four hunters stumbles in and must fight them with nothing but a bow and arrow and their wits.
debhgrty More than 1 year ago
Deb’s Dozen: The hunter becomes the hunted—the game is ultimately life or death Hearing a loud explosion, Sheriff Tom tells his wife and son to stay put and heads to town to investigate. His discovery is deadly. Four friends are dropped into the far north woods to set up camp. They hope the respite from their everyday lives will provide both healing and camaraderie. David, Terry, Phil, and Hutch each bear their own torments and burdens, but as life-long friends hope this trip will bring them closer again and ease the pain of their normal lives. Early one morning, Hutch is up and out to track and kill an elk with bow and arrow. For him, the tracking and thrill of the hunt, the endless beauty of the environment, are as pleasurable as a successful hunt. He discovers a large, magnificent elk and begins the chase. Strategy and stealth are equally important. His chase is successful, and he notches the arrow to his bowstring, aims, and just at the moment of release … the elk disintegrates before his eyes, his arrow landing in a pile of rubble and elk debris. Stunned, Hutch looks around and sees a Hummer approach and disgorge a group of people. One spies the arrow, looks down the apparent flight path and sees Hutch—eye to eye. Hutch turns to flee—in that one instant the hunter is turned from the one hunting to the one being hunted. So begins Deadfall, a dark and fascinating tale by Robert Liparulo. The ultimate matchup of good and evil, of strategy and strength versus desire and death. Of courage and conviction against a sense of privilege and power. Bob leads us on the chase by presenting first one side and then the other of what is a very deadly game. With excellent writing and a keen sense of suspense, Bob sets up a terror-filled saga that had me turning the pages despite myself. The fiction is dark and filled with action. For some, the story will be too dark, but for those who love twists and turns and suspense, this book fills the bill. I rate Deadfall: A John Hutchinson Novel five stars. Bob Liparulo is a very giving guy—I say that because he recently served as faculty at the Writer to Writer Conference in Hershey, PA, and spent three hours letting authors ask him questions about writing and technique and how he got started and why he writes the types of books he does. Someone asked stating the books are dark and violent, so how could he call them Christian books? Bob answered simply, “I’m a Christian. I would never go against my Lord and Savior in anything I do. Therefore, my books are Christian books. Bob is a very prolific writer of magazine articles and books. He and his wife live in Colorado.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I just finished it and frankly, I think I want to read it again! Great thriller! If you like realistic fiction but with just a touch of something futuristic, this is for you!
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My_Midnight_Haven More than 1 year ago
I find that Robert Liparulo is incapable of failure in the writing department. This book only confirms it. Not one sentence of this book is slow-paced. Every plot line ties together, with no room for pointless events. Yet in the fast-moving storyline, he developes characters like no other. If I meet someone who enjoys reading large books, yet they've never read Deadfall, I suggest for them to read it straight away.
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RossSnyder More than 1 year ago
This book is one of the best thriller I've ever read! I'm personally going to tell you, I will NEVER look at gaming publishers the same way again. This psychopathic killer by the name of Declan decides he's going to show the residents of Fiddler's Falls what true evil really looks like. Along with his gun-toting adolescent companions, this dude decides to end a good hunting trip for 4 Americans, and lots of lives to. This is a must read. Period.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Four friends looking for some much needed downtime from the stresses and struggles of life are dropped off via helicopter into a remote area of the Canadian wilderness. Unknown to them, a madman and his naive followers are nearby. Not only do these nefarious folk have in their possession the most technologically advanced weapon known to man, but they hold a small town and it's residence in their grip as they film . . . mo-cap for a video game. It's up to one of the four friends to stop Declan and his posse. Armed with only a bow and his wits, what good can Hutch expect to be to a group of people who need divine intervention? I first learned of Robert Liparulo upon the release of his debut novel Comes A Horseman is 2005. I read the first chapter of that novel somewhere, his website I think, and was immediately hooked. His writing style was one that I hadn't seen in a long time. The likes of Ted Dekker and Dean Koontz come to mind for comparison's sake. A year later Bob followed up with Germ and a short story in the Thriller anthology which was edited by James Patterson. These proved to solidify his place in the thriller genre and the hearts of his fans. Late last year, he released Deadfall. This time out Liparulo shows that he can scope things down to smaller details. His previous novels have had global consequences to propel the reader forward, raising questions of earth's survival. With this latest release, the focus is on one man in whose hands fall the fate of a small town's inhabitants. Along the way many themes are brought into play. Friendship, family, love, just to name a few. And even with this more detailed, smaller focus there's the undercurrent of a global catastrophe. What if Declan gets away with this? Where will he go next? Will the world be held hostage one day by this maniac? As usual, Bob's writing is crisp, clean, minimal and to the point. He created characters to care for, to cheer and to jeer. Along the way you might just learn something as you're entertained. That, to me, is the best kind of fiction.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In Saskatchewan, Canada is the small isolated hamlet of Fiddler Falls where everyone knows everybody else and crime is non-existent but that serenity changes when the strangers come to town. Declan, his teenage brother Julian and four other men and women have come with a specific goal, to test a new weapons system using a satellite driven by nuclear power to power up the attached laser. They want to see how accurate it is when targeting specific objects and people. They kill the town¿s only police officer but his wife Laura and son Dillon get free.--------------- They are separated and each falls in with a group of hunters from the United States who wanted to take a two week vacation from the stress of home. Hutch and Dillon find each other and make it to the rendezvous point his mother told him about. While Laura and Terry also head for their vacation cabin unfortunately, Declan and his pals are right behind them and what ensures is the biggest cat and mouse game with the stakes the lives of the townsfolk, the hunters and the mother and son they rescued.---------------- Think Deliverance with a high tech weapons system that is being tested by an evil sociopath who views the lives he takes and the people he rounds up as cattle to be culled. Then the reader will have some idea what DEADFALL is all about. The action never lets up in this thrill a page, pulse pounding blockbuster. Robert Liparulo is a grand storyteller who keeps thriller readers¿ interest with his two groups competing against each other in a winner take-all survival contest.--------------- Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
i havent been into far fetched fiction books before but the way the book was wrote makes the laser seem like something that could actually be real. its more realistic than i thought. great thriller, keeps you on your toes wanting more.