Hello, my reading friends! Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Trail published under the pen name M.A. Hunter. If you are looking for a dark, atmospheric and spooky read for the upcoming season, then stay tuned for today’s review!
Before I dive into the details, I always like to open these posts with a thank you to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources, the author, and Boldwood books. I really enjoyed picking up a brand-new read from an author I had yet to try, and I have a great reading experience to share with you!
Without further ado, let’s journey into The Trail…
The Trail – M.A. Hunter
Genre: Psychological Thriller
Publisher: Boldwood Books
Publication Date: 08 Sept 2023
Rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟
Sometimes it’s best to let the past stay buried…
Thirty years ago, Jess’s mother, Nora, disappeared while on a charity hike in the US. The devastating loss has afflicted Jess well into her adult life and even inspired her decision to become an investigative journalist.
So when Jess receives an anonymous tip telling her that remains have been recovered in the spot her mother disappeared, she wastes no time in jumping on a plane.
They say the Appalachian Mountains have secrets, but as she begins to ask around, she learns that the locals do too. But no matter how much they lie, she is determined to find the truth – even if it will irrevocably change her future.
Someone wants to keep the past buried. And they will stop at nothing to keep Jess as quiet as the tranquil mountain trail itself…
Tense and cleverly written, what seems at first an innocent story about uncovering the truth gets a whole lot more sinister. The townsfolk of Rockston, among others along the Appalachian Trail (AT), hold themselves apart from strangers. When one such stranger, Jess, hastily heads out to the Trail in pursuit of the truth after a body is uncovered, trouble looms.
There are lots of elements to this story. Some are rational, others less so. And yet, anything feels possible in this isolated world away from home. The boundaries of reality vs. imagination seem a lot thinner in the peaks…
The nature of the book and the storyline have you trying to read between the lines. If you get on with books that encourage you to think about what’s going on beneath the surface, then The Trail is perfect for you! I never quite knew what to expect from the ending of The Trail, and I definitely didn’t anticipate the twist!
The Appalachian Trail makes for a great psychological thriller setting. With wild stories about the trail and those that surround it, it’s easy to buy into the sinister tales and fear of those living off the grid, and the magic and occult that’s intwined with their existence. With any small town setting, there are ample opportunities for conflict, both within the town, but also towards strangers like Jess. We get to experience all the perks and tension that come with this niche.
Jess (and 30 years ago, her mother Nora) are out of their comfort zones on the trail. Away from the safety net of home and a wealth of resources, they are subject to the whims of everyone and everything around them. And not everyone is their friend…
The Trail has a full cast of characters that add to this spooky narrative. If they don’t make your skin crawl outright, you definitely find yourself questioning underlying motives and whether you are being told the truth or not. Nobody wants Jess poking around into the truth of her mother’s disappearance, and her questions quickly lead her into danger.
Coming towards the end of the narrative, I started questioning whether Jess could trust anyone on her quest for the truth. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem. The small town community vibe, combined with this wild wilderness setting, add to her isolation and vulnerability.
One of the huge selling points for this book is the dark and sinister atmosphere that the author maintains throughout. With short, punchy chapters that alternate between two timelines that take place 30 years apart, we really don’t know what’s coming up in just a few short pages.
The chapter lengths are a great way of keeping a fast-paced and lots of tension, but also make it really easy to pick up and put down this book as and when you need. Not that you’ll want to, mind. Generally, I am the kind of person who prefers a slightly lengthier and meatier chapter length, but this still worked for me. That’s just a matter of personal preference. The way the book is set up definitely worked with and in favour of this story.
If you’re looking for a dark, atmospheric read to pick up this spooky season, you should check out The Trail by M.A. Hunter. If I haven’t convinced you, then please check out the thoughts of my fellow reviewers on the tour! More on ther details below.
With a twisty narrative and deceit around every corner, what else could you possibly want to read?
M. A. Hunter is the alter ego of Stephen Edger, the bestselling author of psychological and crime
thrillers, including the Kate Matthews series.
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