By Sue Rovens
Gary and Grace Wolf may not be the perfect couple. Possessing their fair share of differences and adversity the duo forged under unusual circumstances. Yet they seem to make it work. Married for barely two years, husband and wife take a delayed honeymoon of sorts in Bavaria, Germany.
Unbeknownst to them this picture postcard-esqe locale was the site of a horrific train accident that saw a death toll into the hundreds. While the scene of the terrible tragedy remained obsolete to travellers and commuters, the couple somehow stumbles onto the tracks where one hellacious nightmare unveils itself after another.
Track 9 will be the first trip I have chartered with author Sue Rovens at the helm. I never cease to be amazed by the tremendous and vast variety of writers I have yet to have the opportunity to explore. Arguably horror is alive and well and thriving more than ever. The possibilities of encountering new talent are beyond endless.
Rovens’s use of imagery in her descriptive style as found in the introduction is indicative of a writer who is passionate about her work. It is clear this author has went to combat many a time within her own subconscious and it is reflective in the mental image she paints. Some of the scenes just within the first couple of pages are terrifying, luring even the most discerning of readers deep into the fray. She captivates your attention instantaneously making Track 9 a tale to be devoured late into the night.
I particularly like the premise of this novel, an accident provoking a supernatural or paranormal theme. Rovens pulls no punches and holds no qualms about unleashing a disaster of epic proportion. Readers will rejoice in the innovation behind the initial death scenes. A great deal of creativity is flexed as we stray from the stereotypical, or cliché setting of a creepy old house or abandoned camp grounds or insert any trite locale here. Rovens boldly goes deep into the fray of a train station and should be commended for her efforts.
I’m mesmerized by the address being indicated 99 Dodies and the exact location of Track 9. Perhaps this is an homage from the writer as an inverted 666? This type of subtext is whimsical insertions of a well-seasoned author that knows precisely how to play upon the subconscious of the reader. Little do we know what we are being bludgeoned with but it does pack one heck of a wallop.
There are few components of Track 9 that can even be remotely perceived as cogs that do not necessarily function within a well-oiled machine. Rolling back to the initial chapter the prose is told in a very dry, detached reporting or telling fashion. We get the impression we are listening to a news broadcast rather than reading a narrative. As a result the excerpt is void of any sentiment, emotion or intention. Upon further investigation it is evident the story had to be told in the fashion in order to paint an effective picture. Yet some readers searching for empathy in specific characters and personalities may have difficulty latching onto the story without chartering a few more pages. The few pages are really a non-issue and written in grisly grandiose but I am concerned that Sue Rovens may have been limiting her potential audience in the introduction. Rest assured the remainder of the novel is well worth hanging in for.
Track 9’s over all presentation is delivered in esthetic fashion. We see the dates and times listed chronologically as the events begin to unfold. Obsessive compulsives will no question salivate at the format. Somehow this style also seems to breathe a sense of authenticity into the tale. Suddenly a story about a grisly mass death disaster and the ghosts that haunt the grounds afterwards does not seem all that far-fetched anymore. Even the inconceivable suddenly becomes most plausible.
Once we get an opportunity to get to know the characters Gary and Grace a little deeper we learn they are far from perfect as a unit and as individuals. We learn of Grace’s ominous past in a previous relationship, how Gary had courted her in questionable circumstances and even an infidelity or two. Mike and Sarah are secondary characters introduced into the fray. They do not approve of the union and really don’t care for Grace much. The only saving grace is they try to be amicable towards her for Gary’s sake. Their one time intervention however is realistic dialogue that many will relate to. These lines will resonate in a wide audience certifying that Rovens is an effective character developer capable of creating believable casts the readership can get behind.
Plenty of dry wit, humor and all-consuming scenes of psychological foreboding caps off Track 9 as an exceptional read. If you have not your boarding pass of yet I implore you to act not in haste. The journey through Track 9 holds a destination that will inspire one and all.