Genre: Contemporary Fiction/ Adventure/ Suspense
"A road trip that begins in Denver becomes a race to Evergreen when five [people] take a collision course to their respective destinies, and Noah, Victoria, Thomas, Mule, and Ricky find themselves the target of an outlaw motorcycle gang, an unscrupulous sheriff, Colombian drug smugglers, oil industry enforcers, and EPA specialists. The asphalt between Billings, Montana, and Evergreen, Colorado, is littered with bodies by the time they reach their final destination."
"Grace Jelsnik lives in North Dakota with her husband of fifteen years, their three children, two dogs, and three cats. Her novels emphasize plot, each with an element of romance that takes a down-to-earth approach to the natural give-and-take emotional interaction between two characters, addressing the sparks that lead to heat, not the heat itself. Her targeted audience is late teen and older, readers who enjoy suspense, mystery, and snappy dialogue."
This is the third novel from Grace Jelsnik I have read for review here at Books and Pals. I don’t normally read contemporary fiction, but Ms. Jelsnik’s voice and character development have me mesmerized. When BigAl asked if I would be interested in doing a doubleshot review with him for Road Trip, I jumped at the opportunity. Honestly, I didn’t expect to like this book. Political intrigue and corporate espionage are NOT among my favorite genres. I read to escape reality, which is why I lean towards fantasy, paranormal, and romance novels. That is not to say that Ms. Jelsnik doesn’t subtly weave a little romance into her stories, because she does. But she does it in such a realistic way that it feels natural and logical.
Road Trip revolves around a hot political topic of the environmental effects from hydraulic fracking. Noah Severson, a veterinary doctor in Montana, notices the health of the area livestock is deteriorating before his eyes. When Noah tries to alert the EPA of his findings he is met with bureaucratic roadblocks and local authorities who are making big money from the fracking operations. Armed with only his data, a camcorder, and a disposable phone, he sets out on foot, after watching his house go up in flames, to a rendezvous point given to him from a mysterious caller who claims he can help.
Victoria Winslow is disillusioned with her life and decides to take a road trip to ‘find herself.’ She drastically changes her appearance and leaves with no plan or destination in mind. She sets out on her own to experience life without any celebrity attachments. Her chance encounter and conversation with a woman named Wanda helps Victoria by providing focus and direction from insights Wanda shares about her own experiences and life philosophy. Victoria never suspects how much this meeting will change the course of her road trip, as well as her life.
Next, Victoria meets Thomas, a hungry thirteen-year-old runway, and soon thereafter Thomas's younger brother, Ricky, who change Victoria's plans yet again. Complicating matters even further is an English mastiff desperately in need of a new home.
Then Victoria meets Noah in the most unexpected manner, and the ensuing road trip turns into a journey of discovery and exposition for all of these participants as they evade the onslaught of several nefarious adversaries. This character-driven plot has numerous twists that keep Noah and Victoria constantly aware of the danger they are in and the action is often fast and furious.
I ended up enjoying this story a lot more than I anticipated. Ms. Jelsnik has a unique way of weaving realistic individuals into extraordinary situations and making them believable. Road Trip drew me in and kept me riveted. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys well-developed, intelligent characters wrapped in an exceptionally astute story-line.
I ran across no issues at all.
Rating: ***** Five Stars
Reviewed by: ?wazithinkin
Approximate word count: 80-85,000 words