In Littrell’s debut thriller, a biker witnesses a murder and flees, but he must contend with two killers who leave more bodies in their wakes as they search for him.
John “Wolf” Trotter ends a late-night ride on his bike by witnessing a man and a woman killing another man. He narrowly avoids a gunshot and later learns that the dead guy is the now-missing mayor of Whiteville, Ala. Wolf’s not sure he’d recognize the killers, and the killers, 45 and Blondie, didn’t get a clear look at him. So the killers start offing bikers with a specific model—a Vulcan Nomad—and realize that Wolf, outspoken against the mayor’s noise ordinance, would make a perfect patsy when the mayor’s body is discovered (though they still don’t know Wolf witnessed one of their previous murders). In Littrell’s first-rate thriller, the two villains are an ever-present threat, particularly Blondie, whose chameleonic changes—from wearing wigs to switching genders—prevent Wolf from positively identifying her even when they speak to one another at a bar. Wolf can be an uneven character, though, with an apparent distaste for nonriders sometimes nullified by his own life or behavior: He dismisses a “middle-class neighborhood”—the same one in which he resides—and shows contempt for a careless driver on a cellphone, even though Wolf often drinks or smokes weed before hopping onto his bike. But Littrell constructs a world of bikers whose mutual trust makes them almost a family: Wolf is wary of all cops except the one who’s also his biker friend, Lute; a sympathetic mayor and former biker (different from the aforementioned mayor) helps Wolf’s pal, Mark; and two DEA agents, whom Wolf encounters while fearing that the FBI wants to question him, are trustworthy because they “love to ride.” Readers may long for a stronger love interest, however, since the only one of significance is Wolf’s wife, Sue; Wolf often seems more content with a ready, hot meal than with Sue’s companionship. Blondie, on the other hand, is an extraordinary character with a back story so titillating it could be its own novel. The ending doesn’t quite tie up details of the murder, though it leaves a clear opening for another Wolf adventure.
This thriller’s full-throttle pace leaves minor plot points and characters in the dust, but most readers will enjoy the ride nonetheless.