Saturday, July 13, 2013

The Shadow Tracer by Meg Gardiner


This has been a pretty good week for me with my book choices.  I read a lot and most books are OK, but forgettable.  I don't review the romances I read because I am kind of embarrassed that I actually enjoy them.  I like most books with a plot that isn't too farfetched and characters that I like and don't want to see killed by Dexter. ( If I ever hope for Dexter to show up and just kill these people and get it over with, I know it is time to read something else.)  I enjoy them and then move on to the next book.  This week I really liked the Jim Gaffigan book, Dad Is Fat...note to Jim, don't let your kid name the next book.  But the best book I have read in a long time is The Shadow Tracer by Meg Gardiner.

I love a good murder mystery or suspense book and this one had it all.  It was full of danger and kept you riveted the whole way through.  There was danger for a woman.  Danger for her child.  Danger for her friend and even her friend's mother.  Shew!

Shortly into the book, skip tracer Sarah Keller has to go to the emergency room.  Her young daughter, Zoe, was in a school bus accident.  Her slight head injury meant she had to be X-rayed and they find a chip in her back.  An RFID chip like you would put in a dog or cat to be reunited in case it got lost.  This one can be read like a bar code and it lists her parents.  Sarah Keller is not listed and the game is on.

What the hospital staff doesn't know, and Sarah doesn't have time to tell them, is that Zoe's grandfather is the imprisoned, but still powerful head of a religious cult.  A religious cult that practices polygamy among the young girls for the leaders and funds itself through criminal activity. This includes making meth and blowing up the odd Federal Building and judges with whom they disagree.   They have enforcers who have no problem killing anyone the head of the Worthe family sends them after.  Zoe's mother was killed and Sarah is her aunt and has been in hiding for years.

To quote an FBI agent in the book, "Worthe is the head of a criminal family that extends across four Western states.  He has enthusiastically practiced stealing, bearing false witness, coveting his neighbor's wife and killing."  Worthe is " the self -proclaimed prophet of the Fiery Branch of the New Covenant.  The Worthe's are white trash mafia who got a bad dose of God.  They're the twenty-first century's version of moonshiners, but more violent and egomaniacal."

This one small incident alerts the FBI and the U. S. Marshall Service, in addition to the Worthe family.  The FBI wants Sarah and Zoe to use as bait to lure the Worthe family into attempting to grab Zoe to get access to the information embedded in her chip.   Then they will finally get the evidence they need to put them away.  The Marshall's Service may want to protect Sarah and Zoe, but there is some ulterior motives in there, too.  You aren't sure if they will help her or use her for most of the book.

Sarah grabs a bag packed at all times, in case of emergency, and goes on the run.  Her skip tracer boss, Danisha,  gets pretty mad when the Worthe "Angels" try to use her mother to force her to reveal information about Sarah.  And she joins in.

The action is fast paced and you don't get a lot of down time when you can put the book down and eat a meal or get some sleep.  So start early on a rainy day when you won't get anything done anyway.  I liked the believable characters and the cross country chase and the final showdown.  Twice!

And then read Gaffigan for a laugh.

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