The Searcher by Ray Dacolies, reviewed by Venture

the searcher


Joaquin Bridger is a former soldier who settles in the town of Redwood, becomes a police officer, marries, and has a daughter. He and his family live there peacefully for ten years, and then tragedy strikes. His wife and daughter are killed in a confrontation with bank robbers, and he blames himself. He quits the police force and begins a wandering, aimless life around town, walking wherever he goes—silent, brooding, filthy. He exists like this for five years.

The majority of people in town see him as a man who is mentally disabled. Few people dare bother him. Then one day, John Slaughter, the man who was responsible for the death of Joaquin’s family, comes back to this town. After robbing the bank with his fellow criminals, he kidnaps a young girl as he gets away. Joaquin recognizes the man, and gives chase. Thus, the tale begins.

Slaughter is no ordinary criminal. He has bases of operation across the country, and he is involved in nefarious activities with foreign and domestic criminals. He never stays too long in one spot, making it extremely difficult for Joaquin to track him across the vast wilderness.
Sylvia, the girl Slaughter kidnapped, is nearly nine years old when the story begins, and as she meets other girls who were also taken by Slaughter, she learns how to survive as she awaits rescue. Back in the town of Redwood, Sylvia’s mother, Juanita, does whatever she can to search for her daughter. She also knows that Joaquin is searching for Sylvia, and this brings her some comfort.

Joaquin has been helped, from the beginning of the search, by two men who believe in him—a U.S. Marshal, and a police officer from Redwood. Joaquin searches for the child across several Western states. As he tracks Slaughter, he also deals with the loss of his wife and daughter, and his failed life the last five years. Along the way, as he regains the rich frontier heritage of his forefathers by learning to co-exist peacefully with Nature, he meets a big man called the Giant. It is the Giant who teaches Joaquin how to live in peace and harmony with oneself; it is the Giant who teaches Joaquin simply how to live.


What if a split second decision ruined your life?  We see homeless people wandering around all the time.  Most of them minding their own business.  Did you ever wonder what their story is and how they ended up the way they are?  If you lived in a small town, everyone knows your business. Even if nobody talks about it.

Losing his family ruined his life. The same monster that ruined this man turns up and robs a bank.  He grabs a little girl to make his escape. The searcher starts to hunt him down.  When he disappears into the mountains his trail goes cold.  The police give up.  This time the searcher will find him.  He will hunt him down long after all the officials give up.

This is a very compelling story.  Most of the story is not dialogue, yet the author creates a vivid scene.  A man who has given up on life who finds a reason to be part of the world again.  It is about discovery and monsters in the world.  Like all scary monsters, the humans are the scariest monster of all.  In a world that is full of books full of paranormal stories, this story has the scariest character of all.

Purchase on Amazon

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