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Home » Books & writing

Book Review + Giveaway: THE SHADOW TRACER by Meg Gardiner

Submitted by on June 30, 2013 – 8:13 pm 17 Comments
shadow tracer

The following appeared as a starred review in Shelf Awareness for Readers last week. I’m reposting it here with permission, and adding a giveaway! See rules below the review.

Skip tracer Sarah Keller, the protagonist of Edgar-winner Meg Gardiner’s The Shadow Tracer, has just nabbed an elusive target when she hears her five-year-old daughter, Zoe, is at the hospital after a school-bus accident. Zoe is deemed fine—until doctors make a shocking discovery, one that causes Sarah to take her daughter and run. And keep running, from a trio of killers who want Zoe for nefarious reasons, and an FBI agent who wants to use the girl and Sarah as bait. Sarah gets help from a US marshal and a nun, but knows it’s up to her to save her child.

Readers will go on the run with Sarah, too, because the story hits the ground at 60 mph and keeps revving from there. Sarah is a believable combination of everywoman and someone who uses her skip-tracing skills to keep Zoe and herself off the grid. There’s a delicious hint of sexual tension between her and the marshal named Lawless (yes, Lawless), whom she alternately needs and hates.

The action scenes are fun, especially one involving a baby in the back of a pickup truck; one can almost imagine Gardiner laughing with glee while writing it. The denouement in an airplane junkyard is highly suspenseful and cinematic, too. But none of this would matter if not for the characters, equally vivid whether they’re bad or good or somewhere in between. Combined with the blistering pace, The Shadow Tracer is a thriller that fans should not skip.

Sounds good, right? Would you like a free copy of the book, courtesy of Dutton? Enter by leaving a comment about how you would stay off the grid if someone were after you. Close your Facebook account? Use cash only?

Giveaway ends next Monday, July 8, 9 p.m. PST. One winner will be selected at random and have 48 hours to claim prize. US/Canada addresses only. Good luck!



  • Noreen Kasak says:

    This books sounds exciting and a fast read. Definitely use cash only. no more electronic devices unless it is a prepaid kind. glasses and hats would be needed as well. also get a used car.

  • techeditor says:

    I’d move to another country where no one knows me and use cash only.

  • Marjorie says:

    I would move to a wooded area with a stream and live off the land. You would have to become a hermit, it is possible I think, lots of wooden areas everywhere.

  • Eirego says:

    I’m already reading this! Half way through and it’s one of those books that’s keeping me up late trying to finish. Good action and pace.

  • Paulette says:

    I would go to Africa, Tanzania specifically. I would use my Hadzabe name and use cash only. Oh, my Hadzabe name is Kwaeleako which means “funny man.” But, please, do not tell anyone my new name!

  • Eirego says:

    No tweeting, no updating my status, etc. Yes, it would be the most obvious place to start, but I don’t believe too many could do it.

    Next, I would take every single bit of cash I could get my hands on and start hitchiking. Just in case I ever do this, I’m not going to say where I’m heading. Lol. But most likely, I’d end up on one of the Greek islands driving a taxi.

  • I would stay off the grid by not using ANY technology. Cancelling all phone, Internet, etc. accounts. (OUCH!)I would change my appearance (hair dye, fake nose, etc.) Travel only by public transit – buses, trains, subways. I would have to keep moving. This sounds like TORTURE! Glad I don’t have to!

  • mia says:

    Construct an entirely new identity or assume someone else’s, preferably close to my age and description. Move to a new town and start building a trail with the new identity.

    Okay. I may have read too many spy novels and thrillers…

  • Jann says:

    Oooh, I love her books! And guess who introduced me to her (and many, many other authors)? Thanks for all you do, Elyse!

  • LuAnne says:

    An island in the Bahamas, cash only.

  • Carol M says:

    I would buy a camper and keep on the move. I would do odd jobs for food or cash.

  • Carol Wong says:

    I would have to give up using the Internet completely. It would be so tempting to sign on and just read and that would get me in trouble. Use cash only of course. I would move to some place that I have never talked about so noone would think of it. I would never allow photos of myself. I really think I would be so miserable!

  • Christine says:

    Delete all photos from social media before deleting accounts. Prepaid phone, no credit cards, payoff car & change plates (there a gazillion grey Honda Accords out there). Change my name and volunteer at Urban Farms to learn how grow some of my food. I would go wilderness, but I wasn’t a very attentive Girl Scout, so that’s probably a crap idea. Ooh! Watch Winter’s Bone again and pay attention when Ree is skinning that squirrel.

  • Paulette says:

    A new plan! Simply get to upstate New York and find Jane Whitefield!

  • DarcyO says:

    Change my name, use cash only, move to a different state or country.

  • Chuck Barksdale says:

    Well, first I’d stop posting on websites in an attempt to win a free book…Really, I think it depends on how long you need to hide. Not too hard for a few weeks or a month, but if it has to be longer, the desire to bring more people into hiding with you would be greater. Can you really leave an ailing parent or your children? I’m looking forward to adding the latest Meg Gardiner book to my collection.

  • Anita Yancey says:

    If someone was after me I would draw all of my money out of the bank and use cash only. I would travel only by car, and not get in touch with anyone I know (so they wouldn’t be put in danger). I would also go to a small unknown place to stay and use another name, but I would move often. Also not use any social media, and not use a phone. Love to read this book. Thanks for having the giveaway.

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