Length: 434 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars
David Raker knows all about the pain of losing someone you love. He goes through it every day since the moment his wife died. Finding missing persons gives him a way to look beyond the pain, if only briefly, and bring back loved ones to those he can help. But when Alex Towne’s mother comes to him for help, the case becomes personal. Alex Towne had been missing for five years before his body was discovered a year ago. And yet, his mother claims to have seen him only weeks ago; and she wants Raker to find him. Raker accepts for one reason alone – Mary Towne’s grief mirrors his own. Almost certain that the case is nothing more than one of mistaken identity, Raker begins to dig; and he unearths more than he’d bargained for. Alex’s life begins to unfold in front of Raker and the missing persons’ investigator finds dangerous secrets in the apparently innocent life of Alex Towne – secrets that a group of killers have guarded dearly, and that they continue to guard, even at the cost of Raker’s life. Raker pushes through every obstacle, driven by his own desire for closure that becomes intertwined with the closure of the case he’s taken on. But can he battle the people who now target him? And where does Alex fit into the web of secrecy and insanity that threatens to painfully strangle every breath of life out of Raker?
Chasing the Dead is Tim Weaver’s debut novel and the introduction of David Raker. But, it’s not his first book that I’ve read. I’ve read The Dead Tracks earlier, the second David Raker novel, and absolutely loved it. So it isn’t too surprising that I expected something good from this one. And to put it briefly, this book didn’t disappoint.
Chasing the Dead, in some ways, is not as good as The Dead Tracks. First, the story can get a bit confusing, especially if you take long gaps between your reading sessions. Second, it isn’t as chilling as its sequel. So for those who love books for their creepy factor, you may find this one lacking in that aspect. If you compare it to its sequel, you will still like this book, but probably not as much as you liked the second Raker novel.
However, by itself, Chasing the Dead is an excellent read. It might not have much creepiness, but it has a lot of great suspense and mystery, coupled with action. It also brings in a small share of creepiness and a good dose of gore (that’s not unbearably gory), making it a well rounded story. The writing style is easy to read and gripping, and Weaver ensures that he keeps you turing the pages relentlessly. The clincher, though, is David Raker and his character development. You get to see a lot of his background in the second story, but this one put things into a whole new, complete, perspective for me. You see the events that lead him to do what he does, you see the way he reacts to death and loss – his own and others’ – and you see him grow into a different person than he once was. The change is wonderfully done, finally giving you a protagonist who is entirely human, and yet, heroic in his own way.
All in all, Chasing the Dead gets added to my list of favorites and Tim Weaver continues to be an author whose work I’m going to diligently follow. Like with every series, you may like one book more than another, but Chasing the Dead is great as a read by itself, and doesn’t disappoint when compared with its sequel. It’s really good, in its own way. It kept me looking for excuses and breaks to be able to pick it up whenever I could and ends extremely satisfactorily, even while leaving you wanting to follow Raker on his next case. If you enjoy suspense and thrillers, you’ll enjoy Chasing the Dead. But if you’re extremely squeamish at the very mention of pain and blood, this book might not be the best one for you to pick up. And if you’re following the Raker series, then whether as the first one you read or one that you pick up after any of its sequels, you need to read Chasing the Dead; because it gives a whole new life to David Raker.