Cover Your Tracks Summary
Margo Fletcher, eight months pregnant, is traveling by train from Chicago to Spokane, her childhood home. While passing through an isolated portion of the Rockies in blizzard conditions, the train unexpectedly brakes. Up ahead, deadly snow from a massive avalanche plummets down the mountain. Despite the conductor’s order for the passengers to stay seated, former Army Ranger Nick Eliot insists that survival depends on moving to the back of the train. Only Margo believes him. They take refuge in the last train car, which Nick heroically uncouples in time to avoid the avalanche. The rest of the train is hurled down the mountainside and is soon lost forever in a blanket of snow. Margo and Nick, the sole survivors, are stranded in the snowstorm without food, water, or heat. Rescuers might not arrive for days.
When the weather turns violent again, the pair must flee the shelter of the passenger car and run for their lives into the wilderness. They must fend off the deadly cold as well as predatory wild animals foraging for food. Eventually, Nick leads Margo to shelter in a watchtower atop a mountain. There, we learn that both Margo and Nick have secrets that have brought them together and threaten to destroy them.
Cover Your Tracks is a chilling story of love and hate, the devastating power of nature, and the will to survive.
My Review of Cover Your Tracks
This book is out of my usual comfort zone when it comes to genre, but I picked this one up back in October because I thought it would be a suitable read for spooky season! And it was. Sort of.
Cover Your Tracks is a thriller for sure, with a side of the psychological creeps. The premise itself freaks me out — among my biggest fears are crashes, terrifying forces of nature, and being alone in the wilderness, so I was uncomfy within the first few chapters.
But those first chapters went fast. Like, James Patterson-chapter-length fast. If you know my reading habits well, you’ll know that I love a quick and snappy chapter. Something about there being a perfect stopping point every other page just keeps the momentum going, you know?
This format also meant that Auffenorde got down to business real quick, and personally I think most authors today haven’t quite mastered throwing their reader into the story. When done properly, you can’t help but get drawn in, and that’s what Auffenorde does. She hooks you immediately in a way I, a creative writing major, admired and appreciated. Within 30 pages I felt like I knew Margo like a friend.
Speaking of which. This story revolves around two characters in the present, and only involves other people when it comes to flashbacks. And listen, if you’ve read my reviews before, you probably know what a stickler I can be for flashbacks. I often read them as slowing down the pace and jolting the reader out of the story. All too often, flashbacks can come off as cheap shortcuts when it comes to plot. However, considering Margo and Nick are in the middle of nowhere with a somewhat uninteresting setting, these escapes were welcome. They also made sense in the context of two humans who have no contact with civilization.
At first, Margo did annoy me a little bit. But oh boy did she look good when it came to Nick. I’m not entirely sure if Nick’s flashbacks are meant to humanize him and make the reader feel attached, or if they are supposed to merely foreshadow the changes to come and give his actions context. Either way, I strongly disliked him from the start, and much preferred the teasing of Margo’s own history, which is layered and full of complications.
If you’re a scaredy cat like me, know that I didn’t find Cover Your Tracks particularly horrifying — towards the end things ramp up considerably, but I would say the tension for me mainly came from the danger of their situation.
Overall, Cover Your Tracks is a quick book if you’re looking for a thrill with a bit more of a humanizing element— especially if you are inside during these winter months and want to feel even more grateful for the warmth and tea and blankets.
Big thank you to Daco Auffenorde and Turner Publishing for my copy of Cover Your Tracks. As always, this post includes only my honest opinion.