by Molly Jo Realy @RealMojo68
I’ve been both really looking forward to this, and really dreading it.
Looking forward because my good friend and faux pa (see what I did there?) Alton Gansky wrote this one.
Dreading it because I don’t have the next Cycle yet, and because, well, my good friend Alton Gansky wrote this one. I mean, what if I give a bad review? What if, out of all four books, this is the one I like the least? Can I admit such a thing publicly?
We’ll find out . . .
Book Four, The Girl, is told from Tank’s perspective. It opens with him visiting his uncle, a sheriff in a small town area of Oregon.
“To tell the truth, I had enough ‘interesting’ stuff happen to last me a lifetime,
and I had a feeling more was coming.”
In Books One through Three, Andi has been my favorite character. It must be her love of numbers and ability to see patterns in everything. Yes, Andi’s brain attracts me. I wasn’t sure Tank could win me over.
Now, I’ve read other books Al has written. I’ve heard him speak on writing. Heck, we do the bi-weekly Firsts in Fiction Podcast together. So it’s not like I’m unaware of the man’s talent. But . . . wow. I mean, within the first two pages I was hooked. How could you not be, when an elderly man speaking with an east coast accent shows Tank and his Uncle Bart, the local sheriff, mysterious tracks in the snow?
I like that Bart expects real answers from Tank, not something dumb like others do. So Bart and Tank start to follow the tracks, definite impressions of a child’s bare feet. Mr. Weldon tells them what to look for: something to see at the fence line, and something to pay attention to at the barn.
The tracks don’t stop. They don’t shift, they don’t allow for climbing a fence or going around. They just continue as if this small person walked through the fence line. And at the barn? It’s as if the roof was raised up after the person tracked over it. The path leads right up to the eaves then on the eaves/roof, then back on the ground on the other side.
A police helo verifies that two miles down, the tracks just stop in the middle of an open field.
So who is the little tracker, and where did he or she . . . or it . . . go?
After searching the snowy field and surrounding woods, Tank wonders if he should share his perspective with Uncle Bart. Tank’s been through some stuff, y’know? But he keeps it to himself. Dispatch calls them back to town–the kid is there! A young girl, barefoot and in the middle of Main Street. She won’t let anyone get near her. Bart expresses his unease, and Tank agrees without telling him why.
The crowds gather, deputies and lookieloos alike, squeezing in on the girl until Bart orders everyone to back off. he tries to approach her, but she resists. Tank watches from a distance, wanting to help but unsure what to do.
Now, it doesn’t read like much here, because I want y’all to experience it firsthand, but there’s a tension in this scene that is nothing short of a suspense movie. The girl who can’t–or won’t–talk, Deputy Wad who tries to intervene and disregard Sheriff Bart’s orders, Tank on the sidelines, and people in the mix. It’s a recipe for a blow up, yes? Of course it is. And in a flash of drama and did-I-really-just-read-that action, the girl is here, gone, Wad is sliding on the snow, and she reappears to stare at Tank and suddenly he’s holding her.
She squeezes him with hugs he interprets as answers to his questions, and nicknames her Littlefoot. Back at the Sheriff’s station, the EMTs observe her as best they can. Normal. Normal temp. Normal blood pressure. No cuts, scrapes. Nothing to indicate abuse. One of the EMTs leaves after commenting about her baby blue eyes.
Tank looks at her. And her brown eyes.
Littlefoot holds a rolled up paper, protecting it like a scroll. She won’t let anyone take it except Tank. It’s gibberish. Pictures or letters or a combination. No one know what it means.
Without instigation, Tank receives a text from Andi. The gang is arriving tomorrow to help. He’s learned not to question how they know. He’s just happy to know they’re on the way.
And it gets weird again! They go to the break room for food, Wad brings in burgers and shakes, and Littlefoot’s eyes are now hazel. Reading Girl say what?!?!
CPS takes the girl away but the next day, there she is in the middle of Main Street, still barefoot. Tank picks her up again, her small body that’s getting smaller! His spirit and energy are being sucked from him and growls are emanating from nowhere.
The gang shows up and now Tank’s dreaming about an IT Beast, but he’s not the only one. Uncle Bart dreamed it. Brenda tattooed it and sketched it. So you know the real danger’s just about to start.
Oh, peeps. How I want to share the rest of the story with you. How I want to tell y’all how it ends. But I can’t. I just can’t. You simply have to experience this adventure for yourself.
I can tell you, Littlefoot has some strange physical attributes. Like changing eye colors and physicality. But why wouldn’t she? If she were an ordinary little girl, she wouldn’t need the Harbingers, would she?
Pick up a copy and find out what happens next.
And Frankly, My Dear . . . That’s all she wrote!