Book Summary from Cover:
Mike Brody--the man you want, when the one you love is missing.
More than just a master tracker, Mike is a former Special Forces operative, smoke jumper, and now extreme adventure tour guide who can tap into the memory and emotional state of those he pursues.
In The Last Track, Mike is recruited to find an asthmatic boy lost in the dense woods surrounding a dude ranch in Montana. An unwitting murder witness, the boy burrows ever deeper into the rugged terrain, fearful of being found by the killer.
While Mike tracks the boy, his ex-wife, a journalist, uses her contacts to unravel the truth behind the murder. Her discoveries threaten to snare them all in a treacherous conspiracy...
Sam Hilliard needs to quit his day job and write full time. He's a born writer of the first caliber. "Get out of prep school," as my preppie, grown children say, Sam, and go for your true profession. You have what it takes.
In "The Last Track," Mr. Hilliard introduces us to a cast of unforgettable characters. If he isn't writing a series of books about his main character, Mike Brody, the infamous tracker in question, I'm liable to send out a posse to track him!
With all the panache of a seasoned, gripping suspense writer, new author Sam Hilliard scores a direct hit with this book. Character development and His creation of an environment for them is at it's height. I actually saw myself there.
His tracker, Mike Brody, is a complex, infinitely intriguing man displaying a keen ability to track the lost in this wilderness situation. He also is an apparent student of how to handle people, including those in positions of authority. His military background lends itself to his tracker abilities.
Using a sort of sixth sense that guides him, comes from an unknown source, and that he keeps close to the vest, Mike Brody is a quietly capable, and virtually unknown man. Personally, I loved this twist on an otherwise familiar protagonist. One not necessarily psychic, but just the right amount of odd. We never quite get a bead on this ability and I'm thinking that leads to another book.
Much could be said about the insights we gain into advanced computer espionage, wilderness survival and law enforcement cooperation, but these things play in accompaniment to the human story of the lost boy and Mike's connection to his family. His spicey ex-wife is an asset to Mike and the story overall. This balance of story lines renders a wealth of knowledge that keeps the entire piece flowing. "The Last Track" is a page-turner.
Much can be said about Mr. Hilliard's themes of self discovery, coming of age, awareness of womens' issues, and loyalty in this book. It is a mark of excellence that he manages to get so much value into his book without being "preachy" and spoiling it. What an accomplishment, particularly for a first time writer.
If I were to give a black-eyed critique of the book, I would say this one thing: it starts off too slowly to capture the average reader. Having said that, I can only encourage readers to persevere. Believe me when I say that this book is worth the effort. I would simply encourage Sam to start his novel off with a way to grab his readers in the first paragraphs next time.
Given Sam's astuteness and his obvious writing skills, we can only believe there are more Mike Brody tracker books in the future. He's left too many unanswered mysteries for us. We are left begging for more explanations on a couple of major things! This is one of the great things about this book. I, for one, love a novel that sets me up for the coming sequel if it's done well.
Recommended for all lovers of mystery and suspense novels. For all who love Jeffrey Deavers, James Patterson, Michael Connelly and Patricia Cornwell. Yes, Sam Hilliard is that good.
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