Friday, July 28, 2023

The Tracks

The small fictional Texas town of McGregor Falls is a railroad stop for a large company called SWR. When an SWR employee is found eviscerated in an empty boxcar, Sheriff Cotton Briggs is called out to investigate. The coroner, and eyewitnesses, present convincing arguments that the man's death may have resulted from some sort of animal attack. The most indisputable evidence is that two high school boys were on the scene during the attack. One of the kids, Travis, escaped the animal, but found himself scratched by the strange beast. 

Author Lyn Kelly swaps the narrative into different perspectives through the course of 350ish pages, ranging from the main characters like Travis and Briggs to various law-enforcement, parents, and other high school students. The plot's development, saturated with horror, violence, and mystery, incorporates the present day events with those in the past. In a gripping backstory, a group of disenchanted Vietnam War veterans form a unique train hobo club called the United Riders of America (URA). But, as details emerge, this club may have ties to the present day “animal” carnage plaguing McGregor Falls.

The Tracks is an excellent creature-feature that welds together genre tropes of crime-fiction and horror. In the forefront is the metamorphosis that Travis undergoes, from shy adolescent to Teen Wolf sports star. His relationship with two girls was a pleasant distraction, but the crime-noir aspect of the story was the most compelling. Briggs' connection to the beast was a pleasant surprise, and the details submerged in the 1970s URA group was just so rewarding as a key piece to the overall story. Aside from the book's final two pages, which wraps up decades of character history, I'm really hoping the author takes a hard look at writing a sequel. In the meantime, The Tracks is a highly recommended horror and crime-fiction thriller. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

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