Review of The Tracker by Chad Zunker



The Amazon blurb:

Trust no one. Sam Callahan learned this lesson from a childhood spent in abusive foster care, on the streets, and locked in juvie. With the past behind him and his future staked on law school, he is moonlighting as a political tracker, paid to hide in crowds and shadow candidates, recording their missteps for use by their opponents. One night, after an anonymous text tip, Sam witnesses a congressional candidate and a mysterious blonde in a motel indiscretion that ends in murder, recording it all on his phone.

Now Sam is a target. Set up to take the fall and pursued by both assassins and the FBI, he is forced to go on the run. Using the street skills forged during his troubled youth—as well as his heightened mental abilities—Sam goes underground until he can uncover who is behind the conspiracy and how far up it goes. A taut thriller with an unforgettable young hero, The Tracker is a heart-stopping debut from an exciting new voice.

What I thought:  5 Stars

I’m a sucker for a good conspiracy thriller.  And this one really delivered.  The author’s writing style is lean and mean and just flows, contributing to a very fast-paced, hard-to-set-down read.

The first half of the story is told jumping between the past and the present.  I’m usually not a fan of this voguish writing structure that has taken off in the last couple of years, particularly with TV series.  The one that immediately comes to mind is ABC’s Quantico, another is NBC’s Blindspot.  It can make for a very disjointed, jarring, and extremely challenging reading and/or viewing experience.  But the author sidestepped this fatal flaw with this storytelling technique ably.  I felt the back and forth between the hero’s younger days and his present dilemma served well to build the context for how he could survive such harrowing straits, and also went a long way to getting me to identify with him a lot more.

The political intrigue element, with various parties vying to influence the results of a campaign, struck me as brutally realistic, and a lot more fun to read about than to see on the nightly news.  Not that stuff this juicy ever gets to the nightly news.

Note:  I want to thank NetGalley for providing a free copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.