On her way to see her ex and ask for some help with the money situation, she witnesses a car veer off the road and plunge into a valley below. She races down the hill to try to help, but it is too late for the driver, an elderly man who appeared to have been texting at the time. She then then spies a leather bag on the passenger side filled with cash - lots and lots of cash. She panics when another driver arrives on the scene and when he goes to call 911, she hurls the bag into the woods, thinking it might just be the answer to all of her problems. But answers in this form rarely come without dangerous strings attached.
As she waits to hear of news of the missing money, she begins to learn about the deceased man, Joseph Kelty, first by attending his funeral. He doesn't seem to be the type to have illicit money on him, so what was he up to? As she digs deeper, she finds herself drawn to the man's son, Patrick, who works in Community Affairs for the NYPD and spends every free moment helping to rebuild his childhood community of Midland Beach, previously devastated by Hurricane Sandy. Hilary is torn because although she really needs the money or she'll lose her house and Brandon will lose his place in school, a place that has helped him so much. Yet, she sees the devastation all around the Kelty family property and that of their neighbors and she feels guilty. So she reaches out to Patrick with the truth about the money, only to realize he has a few things to be ashamed of as well and he also needs that money. Together, they work to uncover why his father was carrying a half a million dollars in cash, but as they do, the noose begins to tighten as the real owners of the money come looking for it with deadly force, and they don't just want the money. They want something from the past that the storm washed up that could incriminate someone very powerful and they are willing to kill anyone who gets in their way.
As Hilary and Patrick fight to unravel the mystery before a killer catches up to them, they realize they have stumbled onto something bigger than they could have imagined and their loved ones will be the ones paying the price if they can't stop him.
While I have never read anything written solely by Andrew Gross prior to reading Everything to Lose, I really enjoy his collaborative works with James Patterson, my favorite being The Jester. Everything to Lose has a similar style to Patterson's books in that the writing is clipped and fast-paced and the chapters are short. It makes you want to go on to the next chapter, since they are only a few pages and they are quite exciting to boot. I liked the characters of Hilary and Patrick because they are relatable and human. People get into jams and will do what they must to protect their loved ones. While it had a good ending, there's a great deal of bloodshed that occurs from beginning to end and I wished it had ended slightly differently. However, that being said, I think it needed to end the way that it did and I am quite pleased with Everything to Lose. If you are looking for a fast-paced thriller for a good summer read, check out Everything to Lose.