In the late 1980s, Inspector Morse, a new British TV show, came on the scene. It was set in Oxford. And since we had spent several years living there, we lapped it up. It was a mystery and therefore had to have a suspicious death every week. So while Oxford had a murder maybe once every ten years, the show has about 25 deaths a year.
The Appalachian Trail may have a murder every few years but in Ray Anderson‘s The Trail, there seems to be a murder every few weeks. But that’s the way with fiction, you amp up the excitement and suspense, regardless of the reality.
Most A.T. books are memoirs about the author’s adventures. Some are best sellers, like A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson or Called Again by Jennifer Pharr Davis. But most books just record the author’s day by day walk. There are very few fictional stories set on the A.T., so reading The Trail was an unexpected pleasure.
The Trail is about the cat and mouse game between a serial killer, Moonwalker, and a Desert Storm veteran, Awol. Anderson knows the A.T. He hiked the A.T., the Pacific Crest Trail, and parts of other trails. He also seems to know the military protocol since he hints that he was in a war, just not Desert Storm. The fight scenes are well-described and suspenseful.
I usually don’t read violent books, but this one was well-written. If you’ve walked the A.T., you’ll note the many favorite places on the trail. If you have no idea about how people get from Georgia to Maine on foot, you’ll learn about this long walk and its idiosyncratic rituals without being hit over the head with the details.
I really recommend this book. It’s a light but suspenseful novel, published by Turner Publishing-$16.95.