The Trackers: A Novel (Hardcover)

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The Trackers: A Novel By Charles Frazier Cover Image

The Trackers: A Novel (Hardcover)


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Staff Reviews

Set in the 1930s, The Trackers is begging to be on the big screen! As with Cold Mountain, author Charles Frazier has conjured up characters living on the fringe in the midst of the deep depression. From Wyoming to California to Florida, The Trackers offers up a host of unforgettable scenarios.
Thanks to the WPA and his old college art professor, when Valentine (Val) Welch, a young painter from the East, is looking for a job, he is assigned to paint a mural on the wall of a new post office in Dawes, Wyoming. Upon arrival, he is immediately initiated into a culture of brutal persuasion and political scheming.
One said wheeler-dealer, wealthy art enthusiast and former WWI sharp shooter John Long, has offered to host Val while he completes the mural. Long's plots include political ambitions to be the governor of Wyoming, or to be appointed to the U.S. Senate when the current, gravely-ill, Senator dies. To help him attain those ambitions, he has acquired a beautiful young wife, Eve, who is half his age. Eve’s background was hopping trains, singing with roving bands, and “making do”.
Eve has her own agenda, which does not include being a political pawn. That’s where “The Trackers” come in. Mysteriously, Eve leaves her husband, taking along one of his valuable Renoir paintings. Long wants her back and does not want his political ambitions ruined by scandal. He asks Val to track her down and bring her home. He fronts Val the money and sets him up in all the best hotels from California to Florida. Searching for Eve, Val roams through downtrodden Hooverville encampments, meeting the desperate and the schemers.
Of course, there needs to be a villain, and that would be Eve’s former husband, Jake. Neither Jake nor his family, the Orsons, who live in the back waters of Florida, are people you would ever want to meet…not ever!
But the character that steals the show is Faro - an old-school cowboy and John Long’s right-hand man. Frazier’s description …"Under the saddle-tanned skin, his forearms and upper arms and shoulders looked like an anatomy study. Muscle and tendon and veins squirmed and clenched in ropes and knots. His gray face looked grafted onto a younger body." It’s clear from the start that Faro makes decisions quickly, violently, and very persuasively. And yet, the reader will cheer!
If you like great dialog, wonderful description, and just great writing overall, Charles Frazier is worth reading no matter the subject. The Trackers' time period doesn’t seem that unfamiliar today. Two thumbs up!
— From Karen L

From the New York Times bestselling author of Cold Mountain and Varina, a stunning new novel that paints a vivid portrait of life in the Great Depression

Hurtling past the downtrodden communities of Depression-era America, painter Val Welch travels westward to the rural town of Dawes, Wyoming. Through a stroke of luck, he’s landed a New Deal assignment to create a mural representing the region for their new Post Office.

A wealthy art lover named John Long and his wife Eve have agreed to host Val at their sprawling ranch. Rumors and intrigue surround the couple: Eve left behind an itinerant life riding the rails and singing in a western swing band. Long holds shady political aspirations, but was once a WWI sniper—and his right hand is a mysterious elder cowboy, a vestige of the violent old west. Val quickly finds himself entranced by their lives.

One day, Eve flees home with a valuable painting in tow, and Long recruits Val to hit the road with a mission of tracking her down. Journeying from ramshackle Hoovervilles to San Francisco nightclubs to the swamps of Florida, Val's search for Eve narrows, and he soon turns up secrets that could spark formidable changes for all of them.

In The Trackers, singular American writer Charles Frazier conjures up the lives of everyday people during an extraordinary period of history that bears uncanny resemblance to our own. With the keen perceptions of humanity and transcendent storytelling that have made him beloved for decades, Frazier has created a powerful and timeless new classic.

Charles Frazier is the author of Cold Mountain, an international bestseller that won the National Book Award and was adapted into an Academy-Award winning film by Anthony Minghella. He is also the author of the bestselling novels Thirteen Moons and Nightwoods.

Product Details ISBN: 9780062948083
ISBN-10: 0062948083
Publisher: Ecco
Publication Date: April 11th, 2023
Pages: 336
Language: English

“Frazier is in top form…. Period-authentic, and the writing hums with spectacular word-images…. [A] propulsive tale of individualistic characters striving to beat the odds.” — Booklist (starred review)

"The book’s continental scope proves that the lavishly talented Charles Frazier is not just a regional novelist. “The Trackers” is a novel of suspense with an all-American sting."
Washington Post

“Frazier deftly blends an historical perspective throughout his fictional tale…Even though it’s set 86 years ago, there are moments that are eerie in their echoes of the present…There’s a lot more worth savoring in “The Trackers,” including reflections on the meaning of art, the mythos of the American West, and what it really takes to start again. But Val is our narrator and after a transcontinental adventure, the book satisfyingly ends where it began, with Val working on his mural in Dawes, Wyoming, adding a couple final details to complete the painting.”
Associated Press