Author: Chad Zunker
Length: 336 pages
***THIS BOOK WAS RECEIVED FROM A GOODREADS GIVEAWAY***
As I mentioned in my review of Hard Road, I’m starting to find myself genuinely enjoying the thriller genre. The pace is almost frenetic, the action is exciting, and the stakes are always high. The first book in the Sam Callahan series, The Tracker is all of these tropes and clichés, but it also has much more. While most thrillers have protagonists who are older and have plenty of life (and tactical) experience, The Tracker decides to go much younger with the main character. Granted, this choice works because Sam Callahan has already lived a lifetime out on the streets and managed to escape its clutches and now considers himself better in spite of it.
Even though I appreciated the depth of the main character, part of me felt ripped away from the action each time the book went into “flashback mode.” Sometimes these sections would cover many chapters and years of Sam’s backstory, which usually led me to think harder about what was happening in the main storyline when the POV finally came back to the present. Of course, I’m also conflicted because I honestly enjoyed the flashback sequences because they were well integrated and transitioned smoothly between the sections of “present tense” action.
In the end, The Tracker is, in fact, two stories, running in parallel. In the present, it’s a countdown timer to a critical election made even more heart-pounding by the clock-check at the start of each chapter. In the past, it’s the story of Sam’s survival on the streets, hopping from foster home to foster home until finally giving in to the vagabond lifestyle. Perhaps the one aspect of this book I enjoyed the most was the pastor who took Sam in and set his life straight. This realistic and idealistic portrayal of how Christians should interact with others (especially the poor) certainly adds to the heartwarming element of Sam’s character development.
Another well-written thriller with plenty of backstory, I give The Tracker 4.0 stars out of 5.