Book review: The Tourist Trail, by John Yunker  »

You guys, I honestly don’t like being super-negative, especially about things that mean well, like fiction written by and about animal activists. Laura likes to sell my positive reviews as big deals because I “hate everything,” but I don’t, I swear. I just have high standards! For everything! Including myself, which translates to “trying to be better than a big jerk about things that don’t meet my expectations.” Besides, that’s what Goodreads is for.

Ashland Creek Press sent me a copy of John Yunker’s The Tourist Trail, and honestly, I didn’t much care for it. The premise is interesting enough: a lonely scientist studying penguins in South America meets-cute with an eco-terrorist captain of a Sea Shepherd-style anti-whaling vessel. Meanwhile, an FBI agent—with a past!—and his partner hunt the eco-terrorist, and a programmer follows his vegan activist crush onto a Sea Shepherd-style anti-whaling vessel. Connections!

The vegan twist is that there are vegans and they are heroic, and The Man is the enemy. Also, animals are awesome and humans shouldn’t be such dicks about using up all the earth’s resources, lest we unintentionally murder all the animals we aren’t intentionally murdering. Like I said, an interesting premise with a decent twist.

My main problem with The Tourist Trail is the actual writing. It’s clunky, and stilted, and the plot machinations are so painfully obvious—the plot twists send up flares and wave flags from miles away. It’s disappointing, I think, to read a novel that’s excellent thematically but really poorly executed.

You know what, though? It’s very Dan Brown. It’s Dan Brown writes a pro-vegan eco-thriller. If that sounds good to you, then read The Tourist Trail. If not, there are plenty more books in the world out there. Like The Murder of the Century, that was pretty great.

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