Sunday, December 27, 2020

Daco S. Auffenorde: Cover Your Tracks

In her debut novel Daco S. Auffenorde takes readers to a train, where two strangers are going to have to trust each other to survive:

Margo Fletcher is heading from Chicago to Spokane in the middle of winter, back to a family that she has been distant from for many years now. But she is eight months pregnant and there are some things that need to be said and put behind them. While passing through the Rocky Mountains, something triggers an avalanche. A stranger comes up to Margo and tells her they have to get to the back of the train if she and her baby are to survive. Margo ends up listening to him and it save their lives. However, now they are stranded in the wilderness with nothing to survive. Luckily for Margo Nick is an ex-army Ranger and a hunter and knows his way around the outdoors. He promises to help her and the baby. But should Margo trust him? He did just save her life, but he is a stranger, and some things just don't add up. Everyone has secrets and some are just more deadly than others.

I was drawn to this story for the premise of the book. It idea of having to survive in the winter with a stranger but also being extremely pregnant, I can read that, I haven't read a survivalist story in a long time but this is where the premise kind of steers you wrong.

This book tries to do too much. I think that the book should have been separated into two different parts with the the first being used to describe how Margo ends up taking the train. In the second part there could be more of a focus on the survival aspect and then had Nick's flashbacks in there as well. There are quite a few flashbacks throughout the book, and this muddles down the survival book aspects that the premise offers readers. Personally, I enjoyed the flashback aspects of how and why these two people ended up being on the train, more than the survival aspect, as once again it did not seem like this was the true focus of the book.

I also think that having the flashbacks with Nick throughout the book instead of a second part that I was able to figure everything out and the "big" twists that she had planned throughout the book.There was no shocker there for me. Don't get me wrong I was invested in both the characters throughout the story I just wish I would not have been able to figure the whole situation out. Trust me the flashbacks are extremely interesting and you get to know the characters from when they are children and has shaped them to be the people are now. If you like character development, Auffenorde gives it to you in spades.

The is one aspect within the book, that did not make since to me. Nick who is an Army Ranger, hunter, he knows his wilderness yet he states to Margo that there are Snow Leopards out there. Ummm nope, there are not, Snow Leopards do not live in North America, they live in a small region in Asia. I think Auffenorde meant Puma, mountain Lion or Cougar and none of those are refered to as a Snow Leopard. I realize it is a small detail but it goes against Nick as a character and I wonder how did the author or editor not catch this flaw.

This is such a catch-22 book for me, I loved the idea of the premise, it's not fully achieved until the end of the book, so i was disappointed by that. Yet i could not put this book down as I really enjoyed discovering who the characters were and what lead each of them to take a train across the country in the middle of winter. I think that this a is a good debut novel, and that Auffenorde story telling ability will get better the more she writes. There are great bones here and interesting twists that would knock people out if they were executed in a different way. I look forward to seeing what Auffenorde comes out with next.

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