Saturday, February 17, 2024

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace: A National Parks Thriller by A. J. Landau
2/27/24; 352 pages
Minotaur Books

Leave No Trace: A National Parks Thriller by A. J. Landau follows a series of terrorist attacks at National Parks. It is a recommended thriller by Jon Land and Jeff Ayers, writing as A. J. Landau.

When an explosion takes place on Liberty Island and topples the Statue of Liberty, Special Agent Michael Walker of the National Park Service’s Investigative Services Branch is called by his boss and sent to New York. In spite of his lack of a security clearance, Walker ends up working with FBI Special Agent Gina Delgado. Delgado has been placed in charge of the investigation as the lead of the Joint Terrorism Task Force. Walker does find a boy, Danny, who has crucial information about the attack and must be protected. It quickly becomes clear that more attacks are planned against other national cultural symbols by some radical domestic terrorist group.

The riveting start of this domestic terrorism thriller takes off at a breathless pace and will quickly grab your complete attention. The first part of the novel had all the qualities of a very highly recommended thriller. As the action continues, however, some of the initial momentum is lost when the investigation leave New York and expands to other national parks. The short chapters jumping between characters and action probably don't help as they add additional secondary characters and action. As I continued reading there would be chapters that grabbed my attention again, but they were followed by some that lessened the intensity of my interest. It was also a bit of a let down when the antagonists were identified too early in the narrative as well as the excessive personal commentary being inserted in the story. 

One plus is that the opening of all the 98 chapters have an interesting fact about one of the various national parks across the country. These were all engaging diversions and represented one of the better parts of the whole novel. This is the first of a new series and I would definitely read the second book in the series based on the pluses in Leave No Trace. Thanks to Minotaur Books for providing me with an advance reader's copy via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and expresses my honest opinion. 3.5 rounded down

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