Tainted Trail Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Tainted Trail

Tainted Trail is the sequel to Alien Taste and continues the adventures of Ukiah Oregon. When Alicia, a close friend, goes missing in Oregon, Max and Ukiah fly out to try and find her. They quickly discover that Alicia's disappearance is a kidnapping and begin a race against the clock. In their search for her, Ukiah finds out that he may be the legendary Wolf Boy who was lost in 1933. He tries to contact the Kicking Deers, who wrote the original newspaper article and offered a reward for information on Magic Boy, but they think he is another fraud and refuse to speak with him. Meanwhile, Max begins to fall in love with Sam, a private investigator whose ex-husband refuses to believe the marriage is over, and discovers that there have been many unexplained deaths in the area. Is there a link between Alicia and the other deaths? How are the Kicking Deers involved? What is Ukiah going to do with his "father" Rennie when he comes out to protect him? Another great mystery featuring Ukiah Oregon.
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I got very attached to Spencer's characters in Alien Taste and was excited to see them again in this book. Ukiah is a fascinating combination of innocence and deadly skills. Readers will enjoy learning more about Ukiah as he slowly discovers who and what he is. It was also great to learn more about Rennie, Ukiah's main Pack contact, and his past. Max Bennett finds a love interest this time and starts to come alive again after his first wife's death. Sam is the object of his affections and I look forward to learning more about her because she is one tough lady. I did miss Indigo and Kittaning in this book, though, as they were back in Pittsburgh.

Wen Spencer has a nice, smooth writing style that reads very quickly and easily. She has a great plot that keeps you glued to this book and many subplots that add to, rather than detract from, this book as a whole. For those of you who haven't read Alien Taste, I highly recommend that you do (because I like to read series in order), but, if you haven't, you can read this book and understand everything because Spencer gives nice synopses throughout. However, it does not detract or bore those readers who already know what she is talking about.

The review of this Book prepared by Debbie

Roc, June 2002, 6.99, 320 pp.
ISBN 0451458877

There is nobody in the world quite like Ukiah Oregon. His genetic make-up is that of an alien sire and an Earth woman. He has heightened senses, which make him an excellent tracker, is almost impossible to kill and is more than two centuries old. Ukiah's earliest memories were that of growing up and being raised by wolves until he was caught in a trap and adopted by two women who set the non-lethal snare.

He works with private detective Max Bennett who is one of the few humans privileged to know about Ukiah's background. Their latest case takes them to Oregon where a hiker has gone missing. Her uncle has hired them to locate her but when Ukiah picks up the trail, he discovers that she is the victim of a kidnapping. While trying to locate her despite the attempts of the kidnappers to stop him, Ukiah also tries to follow a promising link to his mother's family which, in turn, leads him to his father's enemies..

Containing elements from the mystery and science fiction genres, TAINTED TRAIL is a unique and highly entertaining reading experience. It is easy to believe that the hero is a lovable half-breed alien, which makes the underlying premise for this work easy to accept. The mystery is a tightly woven cerebral puzzle that is almost impossible to figure out until the author reveals the final clues. Hopefully Wen Spencer will continue to write about Ukiah Oregon (the person, not the place).

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Tainted Trail

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 10%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 60%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 10% Tone of book    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   science fiction story Spying & Investigations    -   Yes What is main char. doing?    -   rescue mission/escape from confinement Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Cultural problems, alien culture    -   Yes Culture clash-    -   feelings as an alien growing up among humans

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   private investigator Age:    -   long lived adults If magical mental powers:    -   mind reading    -   super strength    -   is very quick    -   can read emotions    -   healing


Terrain    -   Mountains    -   Forests Earth setting:    -   20th century Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment    -   explicit references to deaths scientific jargon? (SF only)    -   an average amount of scientific explanation How much dialogue?    -   roughly even amounts of descript and dialog

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