Publisher: Icicle Ridge Graphics (2015)
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Mac Crow is in his early twenties and an expert tracker, but he’s treated like a kid by his Uncle Gil, who doesn’t want Mac Crow to get hurt if he can prevent it. In the opening episode, Mac Crow’s special skills are called for in hunting down a “low-rent low-life” who has skipped out on his court date. While Gil and the rest of the team, including the lovely and wilderness-wise Rosa who seems sweet on Crow, are sure the miscreant has headed into the foothills, Mac Crow’s instincts, bolstered by his specialized tracker training, tell him otherwise.

His intuitive sense leads him straight to the fugitive and into a nasty fight that demonstrates his well-developed karate know-how. Mac Crow’s reputation as a wilderness sleuth is growing and soon a love interest from his teenage years (Kailee) reconnects with him during training camp. As part of a Search and Rescue team, Kailee tells him about a little girl who’s been lost in the Washington State wilderness for two days and nights. Mac Crow sets out immediately, finding footprints not only of the child but of an adult who is apparently stalking her. Then one of Kailee’s SAR team is found dead, arrows in his body and that of his sniffer dog. Clearly, a psychopath is on the loose, and no one will be safe until he’s hunted down. But, as Mac Crow will learn, the danger is a lot bigger than one lone killer.

Hollingsworth writes about what he knows: like his hero, he has been to tracker school and is a black belt in karate. He also studies the natural world and writes about it with sensitivity and respect. Mac Crow enjoys the world he works in – “the smell of pine was perfume to me.” He knows when the moon will rise and how to navigate through briars. He can interpret different bird sounds and make a warm bed on pine needles. All these small touches constructed by the author add to the suspense as Mac Crow imagines what a villain will do next by the tell-tale signs he leaves he moves through in the forest and fights gun-toting killers using his brains and his feet. Hollingsworth knows human nature, too, plausibly moving his focus from adventure to romance as Mac Crow tries to decide whether he should rekindle an old flame or feed a fire already gently glowing.

Fast-paced action, realistic survival skills, wilderness awareness and a tough but tender hero make this book a good read for any arm-chair adventurer as well as those who’ve walked the trails.