Tuesday, July 9, 2013

The Shadow Tracer by Meg Gardiner

The Shadow Tracer.  Meg Gardiner.  Dutton: Penguin Group (USA). June 2013. 368 pp. hbk. ISBN #: 9780525953227.

Sarah Keller is a “skip tracer,” a person who finds people who have attempted to do everything possible to hide, from subpoenas, arrest, whatever it is that demands secrecy and constant moving, a life of living one step ahead of the pursuer.  Sarah is very, very good at what she does.  But before her job comes her passionate love for her daughter, Zoe; at least that’s what she tells anyone who asks.  Zoe and Sarah have a very special bond that is now threatened to completely unravel!

Right after Sarah serves a subpoena on someone she had tracked relentlessly, Zoe is injured in a bus accident.  After being taken to the hospital, the examination reveals two shocking revelations that seem to prove that Sarah is not really Zoe’s mother and may be a murderer as well.  Now, the hunter becomes the hunted, and the two, with the help of a friend, Danisha, speedily exit from Oklahoma.  They are not only being pursued by the FBI and the Oklahoma police, because of another related murder as well, but her ex-boyfriend Nolan’s family are in on the chase as well.

Nolan’s father is a self-appointed, sociopathic prophet who is a polygamist, murderer, fanatic, thief, dictator, wife and child abuser, and just about every other negative label one can imagine.  But one can’t just write him off as he views rebellion as treachery and insists on the absolute punishment – death – to all who cross his sick vision and decisions.  He wants Zoe now and has put something inside her that will enable him to easily find her – that is his family and followers will as he’s presently locked in a maximum security prison.

So the chase grows more and more intense as friend and foe get closer to Sarah and Zoe.  There are other threads within this story in which friend becomes foe and vice versa.  Every page is filled with high drama and one comes to admire Sarah for her fervor in protecting Zoe and eluding her pursuers.  No, it doesn’t think the way the reader believes it will; instead it leaves the reader wondering if there will be a another hair-raising sequel to this gripping story.

The Shadow Tracer is great crime fiction, a simple plot with many unexpected twists and turns, enough adrenaline-pumping action to keep a reader up all night during and after one’s non-stop reading, and very real scenarios that partially bear truth to realistic stories that have been in the news in the last twenty-five years.  Get ready for a rollicking roller coaster ride – Meg Gardiner knows how to spin a deadly mystery/crime novel!! Great read!

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