There’s more than mere road rage on the highway. A serial killer in the form of a truck driver has killed hundreds of women across the United States for over thirty years. The killer under the handle White Knuckle has eluded police captivity with barely a trace until now. A FBI agent, Sharon Ormsby goes undercover as a fellow trucker. Hot pursuit is engaged and carnage kicks into overdrive as Ormsby narrows in on her target threatening to put an end to the trail of bloodshed that goes on for miles and miles.
I’m never ceased to be amazed by the formidable talent that Samhain Publishing puts out month after month. Although I’d read White Knuckle back in June, it was difficult to put together a tangible review to really do this phenomenal read justice.
Author Eric Red harnesses and exploits the fear factors within each of us instantly. With a firm grasp on his market and how the subconscious works, his efforts come across seemingly with ease. The vulnerability to everyday occurrences such as driving, the open road, transport trucks is showcased and the darkness that our irrational fears manifests is tweaked to the next level making this tale highly plausible and all the more terrifying.
Dramatic, unapologetic, balls to the wall imagery is utilized in depicting the heat of action. Such references in description are notable as, “Two big saucer eye head lamps inflated in her back windshield.” The author paints a morbidly vivid picture that is undeniable to see. Red’s descriptions are most comparable to the terrible car wreck on the side of the road that we are forced to look at even though a part of our conscious knows full well we’ll regret it later.
It’s evident the author has done extensive research and has conveyed significant applied knowledge of FBI protocol and procedure. He breathes refreshing life into the character Sharon Ormsby and her plight to bring the White Knuckle serial killer to justice. The suspended sense of believability is reinforced and ratcheted further with each passing page.
A momentary dip and plot swerve arrives in the form of distraction once Ormsby plans to go under cover with unlikely confidant, trucker Rudy Dykstra. We, as the reading audience are instantly fixated on the rapport and interaction of the mismatched duo. Their dialogue and action with one another makes the characters all the more realistic and protagonists we can all get behind.
For the most part the dialogue throughout White Knuckle is realistic and reigns true, a reflection of contemporary socio-class communication. We understand the greasy spoon waitress, or the degenerate truck stop prostitute every bit as much as the desk jockey at the FBI, among many others. Red seems to understand his audience and market and is sensitive in his reflections of varying back grounds without coming across as condescending or offensive.
As we get to know Dykstra and Ormsby, their exchange is intriguing. An underlining tension seems to grow and we as the reader wonder if they’ll actualize a romantic endeavor. It keeps the reader engaged and manages to let our guard down, even just a little for the next big scare.
The action is high octane, adrenaline fuelled madness as White Knuckle continues to narrowly escape capture and seemingly taunts the FBI. Ormsby pushes the pedal to the metal so to speak as she goes above and beyond the call of duty, despite her superiors’ wishes.
The captive scenes are drafted in what can only be best described as the epitome of terror. Red is a highly visual author. This novel is indicative of a profound visionary and a firm grasp on just how the collective imagination works.
It will really come as no surprise to most that Eric Red is the one and same that brought many a cinematic thriller to life. Some of his screen plays include the Hitcher, Blue Steel and Body Parts. I highly look forward to reading more from this diverse talent.
By Dave Gammon