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Book Review: The Trail by Ray Anderson

written by :
Philip Werner
Version:
1
Price:
14.19

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On March 16, 2016
Last modified:August 27, 2016

Summary:

Despite being a first novel, Anderson's writing is tight and well crafted, and I found myself savoring the language and clear narrative in The Trail as much as the story. If you enjoy reading travelogs about AT thru-hikes or crime thrillers, you'll find Anderson's The Trail to be a wonderful read, one that you'll want to loan to your friends, hikers and non-hikers alike.

The Trail by Ray Anderson
The Trail by Ray Anderson

Ray Anderson’s debut novel The Trail is a suspenseful tale about the hunt for a serial killer who hides out from the law on the Appalachian Trail. Assuming the guise of a hiker, Paul Leroux, preys on unsuspecting female hikers while fleeing north to sanctuary in Canada. But his odd behavior arouses suspicion with other hikers, including a Desert Storm Veteran named Awol, a trail name that Anderson borrows (with permission) from David Miller, author of Awol on the Appalachian Trail and the indispensable AT Guide. Thus ensues a cat-and-mouse thriller between villan and hero, with law enforcement close behind.

For hikers familiar with Appalachian Trail, Anderson’s description of thru-hiker practices and techniques is refreshingly readable and is simply a back-drop for this riveting thriller rather than being its focus. While vivid and lush, his description of  the backcountry scenery along the Appalachian Trail does nothing to diminish the growing suspense of the story or the inner experience of his protagonists.

Despite being a first novel, Anderson’s writing is tight and well crafted, and I found myself savoring the language and clear narrative in The Trail as much as the story. If you enjoy reading travelogues about AT thru-hikes or crime thrillers, you’ll find Anderson’s The Trail to be a wonderful read, one that you’ll want to loan to your friends, hikers and non-hikers alike.

I can’t wait to read Ray’s next book.

12 comments

  1. Sounds like a great read Philip. I’m putting in on my list to acquire. And just a brief shout to AWOL….”Hey Dude. Loved YOUR book.” Thanks for bringing the trail to life.

  2. Thank you, Philip, for the kind words and a strong review. I did have a wonderful thru-hike and made many friends. But I do urge everyone to stay alert in the wilds. To all my fellow hikers–happy trails!

  3. Probably will,give it a try if you are correct about it being Thriller and not filled with hiking terms, equipment etc.

  4. Let’s scare female hikers of the trail! Seems like a lazy premise for a thriller, and I’m disappointed to see Section Hiker promoting this.

    • Ray is an excellent writer and a very accomplished hiker himself. I can’t resist promoting those two attributes. It’s just fiction afterall. Perhaps you should give female hikers the credit to differentiate between a story and reality.

    • Of course you are entitled to your opinion. In my book’s afterword, I mention that I had a wonderful thru-hike and that it is not my intention to alarm hikers. However, there have been a number of documented murders on or near the AT. My advice for what it’s worth: Stay alert in the wilds and do not hike alone. Sincerely and respectfully- Ray Anderson.

  5. Looks good Ray, I just downloaded it on my i-Books app. ($9.99)
    @ Diana, Ray is right, unfortunately, there have been some bad things happen, not just on the AT, but on local hikes as well. Its not promoting fear, to advise folks (especially women who hike solo) to be aware. Bear spray or mace is not a bad thing to keep handy. It can help stop a creep as quick as a Griz.. just saying.

  6. Thanks, Shawn. Much appreciated. Happy trails!

  7. Books like this leave to the imaginations of all especially those looking to cause havok, like an aspiring serial killer? Ladies beware and stay alert and aware of your surroundings! If possible learn how to defend yourself before going on the trail ya never know when your tactics will come in handy. Better to have them and not need em then to need and not have.

    Regards,

    Pappatatts

  8. I will purchase a copy at the Trail Days though to read for myself. Nothing like a good novel in the woods when ya stop for the day to relax.

  9. Thank you, Pappatatts. I’d love to meet you at Trail Days, and I’d be glad to auto your copy. They have me set up in the “authors area.”

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