Title: Cover Your Tracks
Author: Daco S. Auffenorde
Length: 260 pages
Publisher: Turner Publishing Company
Release Date: October 20, 2020
Recommended for fans of: survival stories
Content Warnings: animal mutilation, abortion, military combat, PTSD
Margo Fletcher, eight months pregnant, is traveling by train from Chicago to Spokane, her childhood home. While passing through an isolated portion of the Rockies in blizzard conditions, the train unexpectedly brakes. Up ahead, deadly snow from a massive avalanche plummets down the mountain. Despite the conductor’s order for the passengers to stay seated, former Army Ranger Nick Eliot insists that survival depends on moving to the back of the train. Only Margo believes him. They take refuge in the last train car, which Nick heroically uncouples in time to avoid the avalanche. The rest of the train is hurled down the mountainside and is soon lost forever in a blanket of snow. Margo and Nick, the sole survivors, are stranded in the snowstorm without food, water, or heat. Rescuers might not arrive for days.
When the weather turns violent again, the pair must flee the shelter of the passenger car and run for their lives into the wilderness. They must fend off the deadly cold as well as predatory wild animals foraging for food. Eventually, Nick leads Margo to shelter in a watchtower atop a mountain. There, we learn that both Margo and Nick have secrets that have brought them together and threaten to destroy them.
Cover Your Tracks is a chilling story of love and hate, the devastating power of nature, and the will to survive.
This fast-paced survival thriller has got me in the mood for winter. The first chapter starts off with a bang, immediately immersing readers into the action. I do not even want to imagine how terrifying it would be to find myself stranded in the frozen wilderness with a complete stranger, cut off from civilization and struggling to survive, but Auffenorde brings that experience to life.
Margo, 8 months pregnant with no previous survival skills, has no choice but to trust Nick, a former Army Ranger, to keep her and her unborn child alive, but something is clearly off about him, and she doesn’t know if she can trust that he truly has her best interests at heart.
The story alternates between past and present, providing insights into the characters’ pasts that shaped who they are today. These flashback sometimes included unnecessary details that slowed the story down, but the short chapters kept the pace moving.
Nick’s backstory is particularly disturbing. The ARC includes a problematic scene in which a young Nick and a classmate discuss Native Americans scalping their enemies, foreshadowing animal mutilation. However, the author informed me that the publisher is removing all references to Native Americans in her book at her request.
This thriller is full of disturbing twists that lead to a shocking and pretty graphic ending. Some scenes toward the end were pretty gross and I can only imagine the horrified facial expressions I was making, but I couldn’t put it down. This book takes readers on a wild ride, but it is not for the faint of heart.
Thank you to the author and publisher for the gifted review copy.