The Navigator
by Anngeannette Pinkston

"Crissy turned completely around and noticed one of the pictures with the bodies and no faces moved."

In this small but busy book, a group of young adults travels to Texas to locate their missing friends, who took off for a vacation and fell quickly and suspiciously out of touch. While the trip launches calmly enough, with a road trip vibe and some burgeoning romance between characters, it soon leaps into terror, as clues point first to trouble, then to foul play, and ultimately to evil.

At times, the story veers chummily into familiar narratives, with odes to well-worn stories of endangered travelers taking a wrong turn off a deserted road, as well as of haunted houses that grow attached to their visitors. However, none of these signals prepare the reader for the massive cliff-diving plot twists awaiting. This unique and creative story is narrated in a stream-of-consciousness format that lends a fluidity to events. Even the mundane details of renting a car and dinner preparation land with a seamless dream-like quality. That major details are polished away does not suggest omission or plot holes but rather an inevitable intensity of the unfolding story and its many big reveals and character interactions.

The volume and pace of action here are relentless to the extent that the storyline almost reads like the summary of a much larger and more ambitious tale. Indeed, with as many challenges as these characters face, complete with backstory, love affairs, and revolting, stomach-turning acts of sheer depravity, this book hosts more content than might fit in several seasons of a serialized story. This crowded packaging works in its favor, as the pages fly by, but it also leaves many compelling partially told stories on the table that might be worth a slower, fuller telling in the future. Fans of quick, suspenseful, no-frills fiction may find a lot to enjoy in this novel.

Return to USR Home