A spine-tingling debut about the ultimate game of cat-and-mouse in reverse as a teen struggles to retain hope—and her sanity—while on the run from a cunning and determined killer. Ruth Carver has always competed like her life depends on it. Ambitious. Tough. Maybe even mean. It’s no wonder people call her Ruthless. When she wakes up with a concussion in the bed of a moving pickup trick, she realizes she has been entered into a contest she can’t afford to lose. At a remote, rotting cabin deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains, Ruth’s blindfold comes off and she comes face-to-face with her captor. A man who believes his mission is to punish bad girls like Ruth. A man who has done this six times before. The other girls were never heard from again, but Ruth won’t go down easy. She escapes into the wilderness, but her hunter is close at her heels. That’s when the real battle begins. That’s when Ruth must decides just how far she’ll go in order to survive. Back home, they called her Ruthless. They had no idea just how right they were.
What worked: Holy cow, this was one nail-biting suspenseful novel that had me turning the pages. I couldn't stop reading! Ruth is a tough teen and very ambitious with a tendency to look her nose down on those she feels are below her. Like her red-neck boyfriend Caleb who embarrasses her with his clothing and mannerisms. It would be really easy to not like Ruth but the very traits that would be negative to some are in fact the ones that help her deal with what is thrown her way.
I really liked the twist with a victim turning the tables on her abductor. Her determination not to be raped and killed bring out her competitive edge which in turn help in her abductor's sick game of breaking her.
The fast paced action and suspense had me on the edge of my seat. I was cheering for Ruth throughout her ordeal. There are a few scenes in which you're not sure if she's losing her sanity--when the six other victims show up and help her-but considering all she goes through? It would take a tough individual not to break down and lose it all. And that's why I really liked Ruth.
I didn't feel the scenes were unbelievable especially when she bangs on the door of another cabin, begging for help but they turn her away. Each time you think she might have the upper hand? It's pulled away. Heart pulsing action that made it hard to stop reading. I had to know if Ruth would survive. This suspense continues until the very last page.
I did have some issues with the flashbacks though the abductor's backstory helped get a sense of the whys behind his psychopathic behavior and his drive to 'break' red-haired tweens/teen girls before killing them.
Nail-biting action that keeps readers glued to the page as Ruth let's readers know exactly how Ruthless she is. Her fight to survive and determination to outwit her abductor will stay with readers long after they read the last page.