Monday, April 17, 2023

Book Review of "The Trackers" by Charles Frazier

Considering reading the newest release from the author of "Cold Mountain"? Historical fiction writer Charles Frazier has a new release titled, "The Trackers". I was lucky enough to snag an early copy - keep reading to find out my thoughts on this upcoming novel release! 

The Trackers

by Charles Frazier

goodreads // amazon // library 

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. ( from

Book Review and Discussion of 
"The Trackers" by Charles Frazier

What I Liked 

Unfortunately, the things that I enjoyed about this book make a short list. As someone who reads a lot of historical fiction, I appreciate that this novel is set during the WPA / New Deal post-Depression era which does not get a ton of coverage. I was engaged with the plot because we were visiting a unique and less frequently written about period. I think the mystery element of where his wife went and why kept me reading through my frustrations with the speed and lack of complexity of the plot and characters.

What I Struggled With

I'm disappointed that I that this book was 2/5 stars for me. I kept waiting for the plot to pick up and for me to get invested because this book sent me into a huge reading tailspin. I really struggled to pick this book up because I did not care. The plot moved incredibly slowly, and the characters are written in a way where they feel purposefully unknowable or likable. This novel is incredibly slow but without being character driven or having poetic writing, which for me usually compensates. Some moments felt overtly political - Florida and the people there are a wasteland, and the Supreme Court is a corrupt joke - and that took me even more out of the plot. Also, this feels like the gazillionth book I've read without quotations mark, is anyone using them anymore at this point? "What gives - they serve a purpose, let's use 'em guys," said the frustrated reader.

Have you read "The Trackers" by Charles Frazier? If so, let me know your thoughts in the comments. Either way, let me know your most recent read without quotation marks, did it bother you or add to the reading experience? Thanks for reading, readers!


  1. I liked what was written in my he book jacket. A novel about the west after the New Deal was enacted. An artist is commissioned by the post office financed by the new deal. Sounded intriguing. Unfortunately like you I didn’t care about the characters. Waiting for story to pick up. Finally after 200 pages had to say, enough is enough. Thanks for your post.

  2. The main problem for me was the lack of my interest in the narrator. The other characters were somewhat more intriguing, especially Faro. The time and place were unique and there were lovely descriptions of the ranch and its environs. But when the reader doesnt care what happens to the main characters in the end, the book has missed its mark.


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