Friday, June 18, 2010

The Last Track: Book Review

About The Book:

Imagine if being late meant a child disappeared forever. That is the fear that drives Mike Brody—the man you want when the one you love is missing.

In The Last Track, a police detective recruits Mike to help find an asthmatic boy lost in the dense woods surrounding a dude ranch in Montana. An unwitting murder witness, the boy burrows ever deeper into the rugged terrain, fearful of being found. As Mike and a local officer search for the boy, the killer follows them.

While the investigation expands, Mike’s ex-wife, a well-connected journalist, uses her contacts to unravel the truth behind the murder.

Her discoveries threaten to snare them all in a treacherous conspiracy . . .

Read an Excerpt

Lisbeth stopped. “I want to show you something.” They stood at the threshold of a break in the woods. An empty clearing. The inner perimeter of the Douglas firs formed a broad semicircle. “What are we looking at?” he asked with his right eyebrow raised.
“And here I was hoping you could tell me.” She grinned.
His face flushed, the color more disappointment than anger. Maybe we’re not peers, but a trace of respect would be nice, he thought. “Why does this all feel like a test?”
“Perhaps it is,” Lisbeth said.
Mike Brody was in no mood for such things, especially not after that road trip and the heat from Jessica waiting for him. He turned away from the clearing for a second.
“I should get back. This has been an extremely tiring day and my patience is shot. It was nice to meet you. Whatever it is you’re searching for, hope you find it.” He turned his back on her.
“Mr. Brody,” Lisbeth said bluntly.
He had almost decided that Jessica had been right, and he should stay out of this one. Not every situation was the right fit. Besides, it had been a long day and a half in the car. Maybe his judgment had declined along with his energy levels. Then, turning back, he noticed an unusual depression in the soil toward the center of the clearing. The track bothered him.
“Mr. Brody, don’t pretend you don’t want to know what this is about. Or think for a second that I can’t see that.”
Looking up from the depression, he faced her again, finding her expression considerably less reserved.
“Let me walk you through some background and you can decide,” Lisbeth said. “I got a call today about a possible missing child from the ranch. A fourteen-year-old boy with asthma, from Brooklyn. Only child.”
“You want my help with the search?” Mike asked, talking to Lisbeth, his eyes on the clearing.
“I’d like you to take a look at what we have, and give me some scenarios,” Lisbeth said. “Abduction, runaway . . . or something else. I want to cover every angle. We’ll start here because an officer recovered some personal effects that the parents identified as Sean’s. Part of a watchband.”
“If I pick up a promising trail, do you want me to track it?”
“Just the scenarios for now.” Lisbeth tilted her head to the left, put her hand on the nape of her neck, then smoothed back a few loose strands of hair. “Can I count on you?”
He looked past her, again focusing on the depression. Something about the clearing looks wrong, Mike thought. Definitely need lights for this. After their short discussion, he doubted what the tracks suggested. Still, there was little choice but to believe them. People lied. Tracks did not.
“Something the matter?” Lisbeth prompted him.
Answering after a long silence, Mike said what he suspected Lisbeth wanted to hear. “I’ll be back in a few minutes with my equipment.” Then he added, every single word clear and distinct, “We can discuss the murder then.”

About The Author:

I was born in the Midwest in 1973. I was three weeks late and my mother had begun threatening to name me Valentine if I wasn’t born before February 14th. I made it under the wire with just minutes to spare.
I was baptized on five different occasions—once in the back of a speeding Dodge Satellite—before reaching the age of six months. The last was the official ceremony in a quiet Midwestern church. Those who had taken matters into their own hands had feared my father’s procrastination and daredevil driving would lead to my demise in a fiery car crash before he ever got around to dressing me in white and taking me to church.

My childhood after the first six months was somewhat more normal. Our brand of normal meant combining a mother who served books like they were warm cookies with a kid who had abysmal eyesight and even less athletic ability. The result was a slightly introverted boy who spent a lot of time inside reading, looking terribly pasty. Not saying that was me. Only that it was someone who looked a lot like me. But that did not last forever, and cleared up around age twenty-seven. I still avoid the sun, though.

My parents had the sort of jobs that required frequent moves. Those relocations happened often enough that I thought saying good-bye forever to friends was just something one did for fun.

Along the way we lived in Hannibal, MO, where Mark Twain wrote some of his finest work, plus a collection of towns in Missouri, Kansas, Southern California, Utah, New York, Maryland and New Jersey. Looking back, maybe we were actually in the witness protection program. Sorry, Mom and Dad, if I just blew your cover after all these years.

In high school, I earned the distinction of being the student who cared the least about being there, yet had the most anxiety ever recorded about doing well. That skill continues to work for me in life. Now I care so little about ever having attended that particular high school, I notified the alumni office of my death. To my knowledge, no one has ever convinced an alumni office to stop contacting them—or their parents—as quickly as I did.
Fortunately there was life after age eighteen. I played bass and drank a lot of beer. Changed majors in college a few times. Drank some more beer. Learned to take black and white photographs. Then one day, as a sophomore in college, I locked myself in the study lounge and came out with a ten page story. I hadn’t felt that alive in a very long time. I promptly drank some more beer and forgot about that for several more years.

About a year before finishing college, my family moved to Red Bank, New Jersey, which at the time was rated the hippest town in the Garden State. I worked in a convenience store and sold cigarettes to Kevin Smith. He wanted a carton of Marlboro Lights, and we only had six packs. At that moment I knew what kind of writer I wanted to be: the sort who never admitted he lived in New Jersey.

I graduated. I worked a bunch of jobs, got married and divorced. Suddenly I was back in that dorm study lounge, (OK, it was really an apartment) and somehow a book came out of it. Roughly one out of every four waking hours for the next two years was spent writing The Last Track. The feeling from college came back. That and a lot more empty beer bottles.

Now I live outside New York City with my girlfriend and an army of four cats—one feline under the legal limit. When I’m not jumping out of airplanes, I’m the Director of IT at an all-girl boarding school so I know about world class drama first-hand. It’s also the reason I study Krav Maga and Tai Chi.

My Review:

If you like a mystery/suspense that is reminescent of The Bourne Identity and 24, you will love this novel by Sam Hillard. It is full of non-stop, heart pumping action that will keep you reading until the wee hours of the night. I could not put this book down! The Last Track is very well-written and I love the characters, all of whom are developed in a very real fashion. This book would make an awesome movie. I hope to see a sequel, or at the very least another book by Hillard that develops the character of Mike Brody. I will definitely be reading more of Sam Hillard's work in the future! A huge thumbs up indeed!

BUY IT: You can purchase The Last Track online, from and

***Thank you to the author and Pump Up Your Book Promotions for providing me with a complimentary copy of this book, for the purpose of review on this blog***

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