Ukiah on a case #2

Tainted Trail - Wen Spencer

This is the second book in the urban sci-fi series about Ukiah Oregon – an almost immortal alien, a private investigator, and an altogether wonderful guy. In this one, Ukiah and his partner Max (fully human) have been hired to find Alicia, a missing hiker, in the wilds of Oregon. Ukiah is a tracker extraordinaire because of his upbringing (raised by wolves) and his alien origins, but even for him, Alicia’s disappearance is a mystery.

As the partners retrace Alicia’s footsteps, someone shoots at Ukiah. Someone really doesn’t want him to find Alicia, and the closer he gets to her, the more complicated the case becomes. Ukiah’s unremembered past is catching up with him. It seems that Alicia is becoming a pawn in the aliens’ plot to finally invade Earth, unless Ukiah and a few of his friends stop them.

The mice introduced in the first book are still very active, carrying Ukiah’s memories. He needs to find them all to recapture his past before it is too late – for Alicia, for himself, and for the whole of humanity.

I liked this book less than the first one because it had too many flashbacks. Obviously, the author wanted to explain to her readers everything that happened in the first book, but most of the info wasn’t pertinent to this story. The result was a choppier narrative and a slower pace.

Still the tale was engrossing, the tension high, and I swallowed the book in two days. Although some of the passages, especially Ukiah’s pages-long, centuries-old memories in Italics and the aforementioned flashbacks, were boring, some of the texts sparkled with Spencer’s customary dry humor, as Ukiah juggled his dangerous job with his new parenthood. Did I tell you that he has a three-month-old son?

Ukiah had driven the hour north to his moms for the oddest packing experience he had ever gone through. One Beretta 9mm pistol with three clips, one case of formula, and three baby bottles. Bulletproof Kelvar vest. Two dozen medium-sized diapers, diaper wipes, and diaper-rash cream. Two-way voice-activated radio headset. One baby monitor.