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Book review: 'Chasing the Skip' is about bounty hunting and parenting

"CHASING THE SKIP," by Janci Patterson, Henry Holt & Company, $16.99, 228 pages (f)

A new young adult book by Utah author Janci Patterson tells the story of 15-year-old Ricki Maxwell and her bounty hunter father, Max.

Ricki's father has been absent from her life since before she was born. Suddenly, when Ricki's mom disappears and leaves her with her grandma, Ricki's dad returns and asks her to join him as he hunts for criminals that have jumped their bail. "Skips," as he calls them.

Not wanting to leave Utah, Ricki becomes a reluctant sidekick to her dad as he travels around the West chasing skips. Along the way, Ricki struggles to learn to trust her father while also working to gain his trust.

As they struggle to define their relationship, they find themselves in Laramie, Wyo., chasing and catching a wild teenage criminal not much older than Ricki. Ricki is unsure about their new passenger, but soon finds herself attracted to his bad-boy image.

As her attraction grows, Ricki must decide who she trusts more — her absentee father or the self-assured bad-boy wearing handcuffs. Just as she is starting to gain her father's trust, Ricki is faced with a decision that is likely to change the way her father feels about her.

This is Patterson's first novel. In it she examines the difficult challenges faced by children being raised by absentee parents. Her character's struggles are real and believable. The plot is at times predictable, but contains enough twists to keep the reader eager to turn the page.

While Ricki is from Salt Lake City, the story takes place across several western states outside of Utah as she and her dad is always on the move.

"Chasing the Skip" is written for young readers. However, it does contain some strong language and sexual situations.

If you go ...

What: "Chasing the Skip" launch party and Janci Patterson book signing

When: Tuesday, Oct. 2, 7 p.m.

Where: The King's English, 1511 S. 1500 East, Salt Lake City


Steve Larson is one of the founders of Information Alliance, a Utah-based data collection company. He currently serves as vice president of sales. Steve spends his free time writing and practicing photography. He also enjoys spending time outdoors.