Publication Date: December 27, 2012
In Truders by Chandler McGrew, Fane, a twelve-year-old boy who has been raised by his mother, cameras everywhere and watchers ready to pounce if he goes out on his own. Far away, Shep Ward is escorted from his hometown of Rastley, New York to a military facility in Nevada. He kills his watchers and is able to get away, but how far can he go with a killer on his heels and what about the unpredictable wild humans? At Rastley Research in New York, crazy genius, Morgan Rastley has a plan. Can anyone stop him?
There are some authors who can convey a history in a few words. Chandler McGrew is one of those authors. From the moment Shep Ward goes out into the world and muses at the “wild humans,” the reader gets a view of the world that Morgan Rastley has been running from and from which Shep comes. That term repeats and resonates throughout the text. The humans in the wild are vermin. The humans Morgan has raised are the future of the planet. They are disposable test subjects. Tying everyone together is Joshua, a human with special abilities that Morgan saw as flawed, so gifted to the military as he’s able to project himself anywhere and realizes that it is time for him to go against Morgan Rastley and, if he can, put an end to his plans.
Truders was an amazingly well-crafted story. While keeping his characters on a path of action, McGrew showed the reader the past and where Morgan hoped to go in the future. Every character was fleshed out and those that had been raised in captivity evolved as their stories progressed in a believable fashion. Many times while reading, I was reminded of Brett Battles spectacular Project 9 series in that there is an earth-changing plot happening behind the scenes of which the general public will not discover until it happens. Both this novel and Battles series are extremely well written and just suck the reader right into both the characters and the storyline.
In Truders, Shep is on the run from an assassin and is just starting to question the values he’s believed to be true. Previously, sitting on a bus, he contemplates killing his seatmate only to realize, in discussion with the young man, that killing this kid would not be the end of the sorrow. The boy has a mother and a father who would grieve for him. As much as Shep’s instincts say to kill, and as much as they show him how easy it would be, he simply cannot bring himself to go through with ending the young man’s life.
One character that especially resonated was only very briefly in the story. Shep picks up Bill, the Koran War Vet who is on his way to visit his granddaughter and her newborn child. When I was a child, there was an elder in our church named Brother Bailey. Brother Bailey had been a prisoner of war in Korea (like Bill) and would instead of preaching, tell stories about his experience as a younger person in the military. He’d regale us with tales of how he got away and how he lived in the camp, but one thing he always said was that he pledged to live for the people who didn’t make it…. As Bill tells Shep. Bill has a simple dream of living on the water. Just as Brother Bailey was life changing for me and many of the children in our church, Bill is life changing for Shep. The ring of truth shining from McGrew’s story gave this reader pause.
The complexity of the storyline and development of characters is astounding. McGrew leaves no stone unturned and no plot line hanging. McGrew’s Truders is brilliantly plotted and compellingly written and once started, hard to put down.
Truders was a read well worth the time. If you’re a fan of action-packed stories with truly crazy bad guys, this is the read for you. I look forward to reviewing more of Chandler McGrew’s work.
Read an excerpt and buy Truders by Chandler McGrew on