Blog Tour: The Trail, M.A. Hunter

Book Review: The Trail, M.A. Hunter

The Trail, M.A. Hunter

Mystery: The Trail, M.A. Hunter

Blog Tour: September 15, 2023


Jess is a 30-something woman who has failed to launch. A freelance writer whose gigs are drying up, she decides to give up her dreams and apply to the insurance call center where her friend Ashley works. Ashley has lined up an interview for Jess, but nature and her cellphone have other ideas.


Jess has been looking her entire adult life for closure. When she was a very young child, her mother, Nora, went on a sponsored leg of the Appalachian Trail. The financial goal was to help a critically ill little girl named Ashley–the same Ashley who is now best friends with Jess. In 1993, though, the two children did not know each other, and Jess was very angry that her mother left her to go hiking. It did not matter how worthy the cause was – this was her mommy and she was not supposed to leave.


Most especially, she was not supposed to disappear while on the trail. Despite looking desperately for clues, Jess had found nothing. Then, right before the interview, her phone pings her with a message. A body has been found in a cave near the last place her mother was seen. The body seems to be the right age, but police are being cautious about any identification. Still, it could be her mother, so Jess hops on a plane in England and disembarks in Bangor, Maine.


The story shifts between the mother and the daughter, building the tension with each transition. Jess, searching for clues. Nora, hiking the trail. Jess, talking to the police and to nearby residents. Nora, confronting dangers from animals and humans. Jess, realizing that things are not what they appear to be. Nora, determined to finish the trail yet struggling physically, mentally, and emotionally.


Looming over both of them is the Appalachian Trail itself. Going from upper New England down to Georgia, tourists and hikers annually take the trek, looking to find a wilder, more primitive version of America. Possibly also looking to find something about themselves as well. Most people only take a part of the trail. Hiking the entire path can take six months, and few have the means or the will to pursue that accomplishment. Along the trail, legends and stories abound. Mysterious wild animals. Families living off the grid. Ghosts and spirits of the forest. Even those of us whose usual hiking only carries them up the steps have heard of the wonders of the Appalachian Trail.


M.A. Hunter has written a mystery, an adventure story, overlaid it with paranormal elements, and brought them all together in a creative ans smart way. His writing is crisp and sharp. He builds the pressure chapter by chapter, introducing new characters, reintroducing characters who had come and gone and come again, letting the turmoil increase page after page. Are the characters truly sane? Are they intentionally hindering the investigation or the hike? What is real and what is not? By the end, whether you were expecting the conclusion that came, you know that whatever happens is going to be extraordinary.


And, it is.


Our thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for our copy of The Trail, provided so we could give an honest review. The opinions here are solely those of Scintilla. For other perspectives on this novel, check out the other bloggers on this tour.


The Trail, M.A. Hunter

Book Review: The Trail, M.A. Hunter

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