BOOK CLUB: Blood Trail

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Blood Trail by Tony Park is another explosive tale by the Australian author.

Based in South Africa’s Sabi Sand Game Reserve, we meet the key character and returning Captain Sannie van Rensburg of the South African police force.

She has many technical and personal obstacles to negotiate whilst whirling from tragedy. She is looking into the disappearance of two young girls.

Locals are outraged and want answers. Sannie teams with Mia Greenaway, a tracker to find the missing girls, the dynamic duo is put through the wringer at every turn as they try to rescue them. Dealing with the missing girls a poacher also goes missing.

Eyewitnesses around the world have viewed a live lockdown webcast of a safari game reserve that has exposed rhino poaching. And the harsh reality they are slain and dehorned.

Is there a link to the missing girls and the poacher due to umuti? A traditional method used for magical purposes which many poachers seek healers for this potion to make them strong, bulletproof, and invincible whilst hunting wildlife?

Scenes are very detailed, and the African backdrop is a fantastic setting in which you can picture yourself amongst the many contrasts and natural beauty the land holds. There are a lot of characters in this book; Sara, Samantha, Sean, Jeff, Henk, Bongani to name a few that were all driving forces.

Readers will be engaged by the emotional strength of the narrative and these compelling characters you cannot ignore. They were all very realistic and I felt sympathy towards many of them.

Tony Park is one of my favourite thriller writers and his African based novels are always a joy to read. Whilst he has returned to a favoured theme of wildlife poaching he has also incorporated how COVID-19 has sparked an increase in the hunting of endangered animals for traditional purposes and gain, also allowing this aspect of the setting to affect the characters.

As much as a reality COVID-19 is these days and the impact it is having on the world I would prefer to not read about it. When I pick up a novel I want to escape to another world or dimension. But I suspect in the future some authors may base their stories around COVID-19 and the effect it has had on human behaviours and nature.

I do commend him for highlighting this barbaric trade fuelled by greed which has increased during the pandemic and raising awareness to make change.

Blood Trail is hard-hitting, gritty, and will make you angry, and make you cry. It will bring you joy whilst sitting on the edge of your seat eager for the next page; it is impossible to put down. The depths of human depravity and rapacity know no limits.

This book leaves you with a sense of loss but also a faith in humanity and an appreciation of wildlife and their extinction. Tony Park is an author worth getting to know, he does not disappoint, and I highly recommend this.

Thank you, Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan Australia, for the opportunity to read and review.

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Blood Trail by Tony Park. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

ISBN: 9781760987428

11 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Blood Trail

  1. Tony Park never fails to deliver an amazing story. The story is set in the African game reserve, the reserve and the animals that live in it are always well described allowing the reader to actually see the scenes unfold.

    The story line has the underlying COVID virus occurring among the population, while the main story focuses on rhino poaches, missing teenagers… was it African magic or murder.

    Tony Park’s explores how the African people believe in Umuti a traditional magic and how it can protect one person and confuse those trying to catch them. This old magic is well explained and how it works to protect the user.

    Sadly the book also explores the terrible trade in animal parts and how poaching is still occurring but it does show hope of those who are hunting down the poachers and trying to put a stop to this hideous trade.

    The story is well paced with lots of action, intrigue and often sadness… it explores the reality of humans and the values they place on hunting for profit and the misguided belief that using parts of animals will cure a manner of all ills. It is brutal and does not try to hide the brutality of the African land but it also shows the beauty of the land the animals and most of the people.

    It s a story of hope and is well written about a real problem and struggle in our world. Tony Park’s is a talented writer and I will continue to read and seek out his latest books as he has the ability to write a story that will hold the reader until the end.

    Thank you Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan Australia, for allowing me the opportunity to review this book.

  2. The joy of discovering new authors to read and then devour their back catalogue is one thing I will never tire of, and I can’t believe I have never read a book by Tony Park before now. Blood Trail is a story full of adventure that just keeps cranking, you can almost smell the scent of the lions, I felt like I was live-streaming “Stayhome Safari” versus being propped up in bed churning through the pages.

    The story is set in a fictitious game reserve adjacent to the real-life Kruger National Park, with very real characters, I can just picture Bongani the tracker perched up on his tracker seat, eyes peeled for foot prints of the big five. I repeatedly referred to the map in the beginning of the book as the story unfolded to better grasp the location and proximity of various key sites. I really warmed to Mia who sadly was constantly reminded she’d just missed the mark at her master tracker’s qualification and who is put to the test as the number of missing young girls increases.

    I applauded the author weaving Covid-19 throughout the story, not in an obtrusive way, just ticking away in the background, a subtle future reminder of when this book was written, and how the world is now coping with a new normal.

    I was intrigued to read about traditional beliefs and the ‘umuthi’ the locals chewed to protect them from dangerous game and to intensify their senses. I also enjoyed the sprinkling of Afrikaans throughout the story and frequently referred to my dictionary to check the meaning of words I couldn’t instantly translate; I felt the use of these terms gave the book a unique authenticity.

    Thank you so much Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan for this five-star read, I now have a collection of Tony Park books on my ever growing TBR mountain.

  3. Another great story by Tony Park,
    I was looking forward to reading this and was not disappointed.
    Set in South Africa, Park delves into the superstition
    that is meshed with witchcraft and healing.
    Throw in Big Game, Poachers, a couple of missing teenage girls
    and a Tourist disappearing,
    the impact Covid 19 has had on the Tourist Industry and the far reaching effects,
    and you have the Master Storyteller weaving his magic.
    A very good read and I am looking forward to reading future books by this Author.
    Thank You ‘Beauty and Lace’ and ‘Pan Macmillan’ for the opportunity to read and review this great book.

  4. Thank-you Beauty & Lace for giving me the chance to read & review ‘Blood Trail’ a suspense thriller by Tony Park.
    I am a big fan of Tony Park’s books and this is another great book which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. The first few chapters where very busy as there were so many characters and themes that were introduced, I found I really had to concentrate to keep each character in their place but was left wondering on how they would all fit together. I should not have worried as the story kept me enthralled easily with his descriptive writing style – yes, I do want to go to Africa after reading many of his books.
    The main characters are female which was great to read about some strong feisty women making their mark on a world that is well and truly male dominated. Mia the tracker and Sannie the policewoman face poachers, kidnappers and murderers face on with little fear for their own selves. The book had me gasping at what was happening to the characters, worrying about the survival of more than one character. Add to this a mix of potential black magic, sabotage and betrayals this book is a fantastic read which I highly recommend.
    I really enjoyed reading ‘Blood Trail’ which highlights the lows of what people will do for money but also the highs of what a few people who believe in a future for endangered animals can do for the better. Thank-you ‘Beauty & Lace Bookclub’ and Pan Macmillan Australia for the opportunity to read ‘Blood Trail’ a suspense thriller by Tony Park.

  5. Once again Tony Park has taken readers on an amazing African adventure,
    This book centres around the Sabi Sand Game Reserve,
    Two young girls and a tourist have disappeared,
    Sannie – police officer is sent to investigate
    Mia and Bobgani are trackers who not only have to deal with the missing girls but also with the rhino poachers who are in the area, the girls appear to have disappeared into thin air as do the poachers,
    Blood Trail is undoubtedly Tony Parks best book yet ( my opinion )
    Readers will get a true sense of how hard life is in Africa

  6. I found it really interesting that this book was set in the present time and was sent in the context of the pandemic – it’s the first book I’ve read where covid is present. I love reading thrillers and this one was a little different to ones I’ve read before as it featured magic. The book is set in South Africa, and the author does really well to illustrate the scenes. Tony Park has researched South Africa well so it seems to be very realistic, and includes some education snippets about the culture and language.

    The main characters, Mia and Sannie are fairly likable, and I enjoyed following the book from both their perspectives. The book is centred on a huge mystery – magic or murder? Many of the characters believe in this South African magic or witchcraft including umuthi but others are sceptical at least until the events of the book start to occur and they aren’t sure what they believe anymore. he book features many twists and turns particularly towards the end and will keep you guessing until you get all the answers. Overall a great read and I enjoyed it.

  7. I was very excited to receive a copy of Tony Park’s The Blood Trail to read. I was immediately drawn into the storyline and the beautiful descriptions of Africa. The story moved along at a comfortable pace and it’s main characters were believable and kept me interested. There were plenty of twists and turns with an ending I didn’t see coming. Such a great read!

  8. Another amazing read by Tony Park!

    I could not put this book down. I stayed up late to finish this book, totally worth being tired the next day!

    Always happy to have another book by Tony Park on my bookshelf!

    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Pan Macmillan Australia for the chance to read and review.

  9. This is a very interesting read, and happen to be my first book referencing Covid-19 so I was very excited to read this.
    The story starts with showing the imaact of Covid-19 on the world and on the South African tourist industry.
    The story is about the poachers and animal taking over the reserve and there are alot of characters interlinked in the story.
    Its talks about the magic, witchcraft and traditional African rituals and also the various regionals terms.
    There are a lot of twists and turns and it gets very interesting and fast paced from the middle part of the story.
    Well worth the read and really enjoyed reading this book.

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