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Scott Free [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

John Gilstrap , Martin T. Sherman
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
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Book Description

September 2003

One of America's most acclaimed suspense writers now serves up a bracingly original nail-biter that takes us deep into the rugged terrain of the Utah mountains.

Sherry Carrigan O'Toole can't seem to apply the prescriptions she offers in her bestselling self-help books to her own life. Six years after her marriage to Brandon disintegrated and he won custody of their son, Scott, there's no room in their lives for her. Hoping to win back the teenager's heart, Sherry arranges a week's skiing at the plush SkyTop Village resort.

But Scott has other plans. Determined to evade his mother's clutches, he jumps at the chance to join a foolhardy adventure: flying a Cessna through a nighttime storm to Salt Lake City for a Metallica concert. After the plane crashes, Scott is lost and alone in the frozen wilderness, miles from anywhere anyone would search for him.

As Brandon and Sherry revisit the old battles that tore them apart, they have to fight a bureaucracy that wants to abandon the search even as their son struggles to survive impossible odds.

Barely alive, Scott finally finds a cabin for shelter. He thinks his troubles are over. When he discovers the truth about the man who lives there, however, it's clear that his terror has hardly begun.

With his latest page-turner, John Gilstrap cements his position among today's most ingenious thriller writers.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Description

From Amazon

When a plane carrying Scott O'Toole to a rock concert in Salt Lake City crashes in the Utah mountains, the resourceful teenager manages to make it to what looks like safety--a cabin owned by a mysterious, heavily armed man who may be the protected government witness he says he is--or a killer whose presence in the area has more to do with a planned political assassination. Meanwhile, Scott's divorced parents are dealing with his predicament very differently. Sherry O'Toole, a bestselling self-help author, seems more concerned about her public image and refighting her acrimonious divorce than using her celebrity to focus attention on her missing son, while Brandon O'Toole, who won custody of the boy, is desperately trying to convince the authorities that Scott, who is trained in survival, should not be given up for dead. This is a thrilling, chilling mystery from a writer whose abilities to create believable, authentic teenage characters have marked his other novels, notably Nathan's Run. But Sherry is little more than a cartoon figure, whose ambivalence in the face of her son's catastrophe is unbelievable, and Brandon, while a much more sympathetic figure, is hardly more real. Despite these flaws, Scott Free is a compelling read, with excellent pacing and a narrative that drives to a thunderous conclusion. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Gilstrap's fourth novel is just as exciting as its predecessors (nathan's Run,1996; At All Costs, 1998; and Even Steven, 2000). Sherry O'Toole is a best-selling pop-psychology writer with a messy personal life: her ex-husband has custody of their 16-year-old son, Scott, and she's running out of schemes to shift her boy's allegiance. A ski trip may be her last hope. But the rebellious Scott's plans don't exactly include spending time with Mom. A newfound friend, a pilot, plans to take Scott to a concert, but a snowstorm gets in the way, and they fly into a tree. Now, with his friend dead, Scott is alone, in below-freezing temperatures, with no idea where he is. And his parents, who can barely stand the sight of each other, must join forces to find him. Gilstrap takes a few chances here--especially interesting is his decision to make Sherry so immensely unlikable--and the reader is rewarded with an alone-against-the-elements story that's fresh, suspenseful, and memorable. Gilstrap is one writer who just keeps getting better. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A double black diamond thriller April 29 2003
Format:Hardcover
As his canon develops, Mr. Gilstrap's fiction seems to be edging away from the imperiled-family-on-the-run suspense thrillers for which he was becoming typecast and this is an evolution that Atria Books, Gilstrap's imprint within Simon & Schuster, thankfully encourages.

Scott O'Toole is not Nathan Bailey redux. Nathan, the title character in Gilstrap's incredible debut NATHAN'S RUN, is eluding capture by both the police and some bad men who want him dead. Sixteen-year-old Scott O'Toole is running toward something, namely a cabin in the middle of the Utah wilderness after his plane crashes that is his only shot at survival.

In that cabin is a mysterious man who claims to be in the witness protection program. But as Scott waits out a terrific blizzard, less and less adds up and his savior doesn't appear to be what he claims. The president of the United States is in town and when the bodies start piling up around the cabin like cordwood, Scott puts two and two together and begins a Nathanesque run back to civilization.

Gilstrap is obviously enamored of the movies, and he's tried and failed to make a career as a produced screenwriter. Still, his love of movies prevails and SCOTT FREE would've benefited from less allusions to specific movies, genres and cinema in general that Gilstrap obviously threw in to make producers realize, Look, see how cinematic my book is!

Gilstrap's saving grace is that SCOTT FREE, despite its shameless attempts to cozy up next to and identify with action/adventure films, remains one of the freshest and most captivating concepts since Jan Burke's BONES and Michael Prescott's NEXT VICTIM. Scott O'Toole does nothing that a gutsy, level-headed sixteen-year-old boy couldn't do with the proper training and a few aids.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Great Escape April 21 2003
Format:Hardcover
I loved this thriller by John Gilstrap. Not since The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon by King have I been on such an intense merry-go-round with a young protagonist. Nathan's Run sealed my implicitly silent contract of approval for Gilstrap, and this time around, the protagonist is a blue haired teenager, full of bravado, with incredible learned skills, resolve, and vulnerability, as well as adolescent 'attitude'. The descriptions of the hardships are vivid, visual reality-charged moments of reader recognition.
The novel speaks for itself. A teenager visiting with his detached but famous mother, who is taken on an exorbitant ski vacation to woo him away from "team bachelor", decides on the spur of the moment to fly with a new found skiing buddy to a rock concert. A storm ensues. From that point on, weather, survival, horror, and where-with-all co conspire to build great tension and a very satisfying book. Scott is compelled to call on inner resources, those he was trained for, and those which he is unaware that he possesses. I bought it all. The villain is great, wearing more guises than an entire halloween party. Dad is a devoted supporter who never gives up, knowing in his gut that his son is still alive. Even egocentric mom changes over time. Scott Free is a page turner and a great escape. I found Scott Free to be very satisfying and an entertaining distraction from current events.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Average read for thriller fans. March 15 2003
Format:Hardcover
John Gilstrap knows to write, I know that and I liked most of all his books "Nathan's Run". This book was brilliant. But Mr. Gilstrap has never since found a similar voice and well arranged story. "Scott Free" is not much more than what you expect of, for example, the usual Arnold Schwarzenegger action movie. The characters are not much more developed, you read what you would see on the big screen if this book is ever made to a major motion picture. This book should have been a hundered pages longer. The characters are not as well developed as you possibly could in a book. Mr. Gilstrap's style of writing is absorbing, but he lacks the wit he put into the pages of "Nathan's Run" and the well thought ideas he came up with in his first novel. Now he is more mainstream. In this story would have been so much more to explore about any character in this book. Scott's mother would have been a great character if explored more in depth. The attemps are there. But as I said, he would have needed about a hundred pages more to do so. Now it is just a nice summer read for the beach, not much more. The story is so foreseeable, that some twists aren't that surprising at all. The story of the sniper is not too well explored either. You can't really connect to Scott either, he seems too much like a superhero and has knowlege of any surviving skills. Some ideas in this book are too hard to believe. Its a nice read though. But it doesn't touch the reader as "Nathan's Run" did.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Gilstrap/SCOTT FREE are superb. March 3 2003
Format:Hardcover
When I read something special--a novel that keeps me awake and has me guessing on one page, openly encouraging the protagonist on the next, cursing the bad guys (including one self-centered mom)--I need to share that book with others. From my point of view, John Gilstrap, author of NATHAN'S RUN, EVEN STEVEN and AT ALL COSTS, pitched a perfect game with his latest thriller, SCOTT FREE. Characters we can actually embrace because they're believable, a unique story that literally grabs you by the throat and slowly squeezes the life out of you, and a writer who appears to really care about his craft. I encourage other readers to pick up Mr. Gilstrap's suspense thriller and kick the tires. YOU WON'T BE DISAPPOINTED. A fast-paced story with political intrigue, divorce at it's ugliness, the Western wilderness and a young teenager (Scott O'Toole) who has a few neat tricks up his sleeve. What more could you or I (the reader) possible ask for? Read SCOTT FREE and you'll certainly find out.
Steve Besecker
East Aurora, NY
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Best I've read in a long time
I'll be honest with you. I first saw this book listed in the Book of the Month Club brochure and thought it sounded great. Read more
Published on June 6 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing!
Unlike other Gilstrap novels, this book drags alone getting pulled by arrogant self centered, self serving characters. Read more
Published on June 3 2003 by Richard I. Summers
2.0 out of 5 stars Preposterous !!!
I found "no there, there" in John Gilstrap's "Scott Free."
Had I desired a soap opera I would choose Howard Fast or Harold Robbins and enjoy the ride with guilty... Read more
Published on June 2 2003 by nobizinfla
3.0 out of 5 stars GREAT SCOTT WHAT A BOY!
I'm sorry, but I found Scott to be a typically self-centered, unfocused brat, one who could hardly come up with surviving the horrifying plane crash. Blue hair or not! Read more
Published on May 29 2003 by Michael Butts
5.0 out of 5 stars A Blast to Read
John Gilstrap has written a classic, truly great thriller. I don't ski, nor have I been to Utah, but if you want to feel the icy wind in your face and taste fear, read this one. Read more
Published on April 15 2003
1.0 out of 5 stars don't buy it
John Gilstrap should be ashamed. First of all, the Utah mountains are named correctly, however, there is no Arapahoe County in Utah, nor a town named Eagle Feather. Read more
Published on March 29 2003
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast Moving
This fast-moving thriller kept me up late at night as I read the story of a young boy, lost in the freezing wilderness, pursued by the bad guy(s). Read more
Published on March 19 2003 by BeachReader
5.0 out of 5 stars powerful crime thriller
She is a practicing psychologist well known for her lectures, seminars and "how to" books but she wants to reconnect with her teen-age son Scott. Read more
Published on Feb. 15 2003 by Harriet Klausner
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