Track 9 by Sue Rovens
Opening sentence: ‘The only sound more piercing than the passenger’s screams was the abrasive shrieking of the wheels against the rails.’
I enjoy it when you’re casually reading the opening of a book on the train and you think you know where the plot is going, in this case, setting the scene of a terrible train crash with many victims (although that is a disconcerting scenario when you’re reading it on a train), and then it suddenly throws you a curveball: ‘the shell-shocked wanderers that were ambulatory had begun ravaging the dead for their limbs, tearing off hunks of flesh and eating them.’ So, a little bit of zombie-style cannibalism has been thrown into the mix.
Let’s meet our lead characters: Gary and Grace Wolf are on their belated honeymoon in Rain, Germany and on their way home, while rushing to get to the train station, they accidentally find themselves in the wrong – abandoned – train station. Once in however, they cannot find a way out. What they don’t know is that this is the scene of the aforementioned cannibal train crash years before.
As well as Gary and Grace, the story cuts between their good friends and neighbours, Mike and Sarah, who are back in Bloomington, Illinois, Gary and Grace’s hometown. Mike is eagerly awaiting Gary’s return from honeymoon (he and Sarah do not like Grace and can’t understand why Gary is with her, and despite Gary explaining the relationship to them as, ‘a wise financial move on my part, okay?’ they still seem to think he’s an amazing guy, that Grace is the problem, and act oblivious to the fact that he made that terrible statement) when he has strange premonitions and becomes very concerned about Gary’s fate.
He is right to be concerned as there is far more to the abandoned train station than meets the eye and Gary’s only got a limited amount of time to try and get out of there.
Towards the end of the book, we are told this about Grace: ‘The entire meaning of what happened to her when she was on the train still eluded her.’ And I couldn’t help but feel that this applied to me, too. I get that the haunting of the station is ambiguous and can easily be attributed to the imagination of scared, trapped people – if it wasn’t for the cannibal reference at the beginning and other characters being so affected by the events in the train station. I would have liked more development on this theme and got to know just what was going on in that abandoned train station a little more, to really ramp up the horror element of the story. Overall though, this was an engrossing read that kept me turning the pages.
I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review.