Wen Spencer,
Tainted Trail
(Roc, 2002)

Imagine a man with an Earthling mother and an alien father who was raised by wolves until discovered by two women who raised him to adulthood. Imagine that his genetic eccentricity gives him heightened awareness and extensive lifespan. Imagine that he has been specially trained by a private investigator. You have just conjured Ukiah Oregon, tracker extraordinaire. In Tainted Trail, Ukiah is hired to find a missing hiker in Oregon; however, he unearths more than he bargained for during his search.

Max Bennett trained Ukiah as a specialized tracker, and he is one of the very few people who know anything about his past. A woman who had been researching Ukiah's origins goes missing in an Oregon forest, and her uncle hires the duo to find her. While in the process, Ukiah stumbles across the story of a Wolf Boy who disappeared in 1933. Could this have been him? The trail leads him to clues about his mother's family, but unfortunately also exposes his existence to those who could do him harm.

Wen Spencer has once again brought this seemingly unbelievable character into stark clarity with his prose, dialogue and wit. The trail in this story leads the characters into more answers, followed by more questions, but never ceases to entertain and surprise the reader. After reading this, I had to head to the bookstore for the first installment of Ukiah's story, Alien Taste. Both books are definitely worth the read, and I for one am eagerly awaiting the next portion of Ukiah Oregon's story.

- Rambles
written by Carie Morrison
published 29 March 2003

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