It’s Book Review Tuesday….and might be the last for a while as it morphs into Game of Thrones Tuesday because, yes, I have succumbed to the “Great Bearded Glacier” and his five-volume (so far) epic fantasy. The books are huge, so finishing one a week? Well, we shall see how far I get into book one, Game of Thrones, by next Tuesday.
In the meantime, before cracking open GoT, I had a chance to read a new release, TRACKERS, by Nicholas Sansbury Smith. I was intrigued by the book blurb, being a fan of post-apocalyptic fiction. Did it live up to my expectations? Read on.
ABOUT TRACKERS: The end of the world is just the beginning of the hunt…Estes Park Police Chief Marcus Colton and tracker Sam ‘Raven’ Spears have never liked one another, but when a young girl goes missing in Rocky Mountain National Park, Colton hires Spears to help find her. Their search ends after a night of devastating horror. When word reaches Estes that the nation has been hit by a coordinated electromagnetic pulse attack, Colton and Spears are forced to work together again. But they quickly realize they aren’t just tracking a killer–they are tracking a madman. As the United States descends into chaos, the hunters become the hunted. Halfway across the country, Senator Charlize Montgomery awakes to find the nation’s capital has gone dark. Forced to set off on foot, she treks across a city that has woken to a new world, and as the night progresses, she learns the EMP attack was just the beginning…
WHAT I LIKED: The plausibility of the plot is terrifying, especially as we enter a new era of American diplomatic relations this week, however you view that era. I’m not here to talk politics. But the idea of a North Korean preemptive strike in retaliation for some small-scale slight? Not so far-fetched.
The strike, in this case, is an EMP–electromagnetic pulse–caused by a nuclear weapon (or more) detonated at a very high altitude. Radiation might be lessened, but it would essentially wipe out the power grid. (Still got that old 1972 VW in the garage? Hang onto it!) Smith does a great job of switching back and forth between the small tourist town of Estes Park, Colorado, and Washington, D.C., with characters that have crossover to both settings. So we get to see what happens in DC and in a small, relatively isolated mountain town. Oh, and in case things aren’t cray-cray enough, there’s a serial killer on the loose in Estes Park that has to be rounded up.
Somehow, it all works. The language is spare and yet Smith manages to make us care about each one and make each one deeper than the caricatures they could have so easily have become. The book races along, and I was getting ready to complain that it was too short when I realized that, well, it really isn’t that short. I just couldn’t put it down and it’s a fast read.
WHAT I DIDN’T LIKE SO MUCH: I didn’t realize until I reached the end of this very short, quick read, that there is a second book coming out in June. There appear to be no plans to extend it beyond a duology, but I wish the full resolution had been reached in one standalone novel. This one does have a satisfying conclusion, at least on the Colorado front, so I hope the second doesn’t diminish that,
Still, that’s hair-splitting over a book that I raced through and enjoyed thoroughly (in an unsettling, scary kind of way), so I have to give it a full FIVE GATORS. If you’re looking for romance, this isn’t your book. If you like suspenseful apocalyptic thrillers, it’s definitely a must read.
Want to win a digital copy of TRACKERS or a $5 Amazon gift card? Leave a comment. Do you have a favorite apocalyptic novel, or do you prefer a little more escapism in your reading?