privateeyejulyMeg Gardiner's new novel, The Shadow Tracer, is an explosive thriller about Sarah Keller, a single mom and a skip tracer. But what is a skip tracer, anyway? We asked Gardiner to share some insight on skip tracers and introduce readers to the heroine at the heart of her gripping new book.

Guest post by Meg Gardiner

Sarah Keller is a skip tracer. She hunts down bail jumpers, debt dodgers and people evading arrest. She searches for people who can’t be seen directly, because they avoid the light. But they cast shadows. And that’s what Sarah traces.

To penetrate those shadows, she has become a chameleon. A skip tracer, she says, is a hunter, a manipulator and a professional liar. But Sarah’s more than that. She’s a guardian.

Sarah is mother to 5-year-old Zoe. The little girl came unexpectedly into her life, and Sarah has rebuilt her world around protecting her. That’s how she ends up in Oklahoma City, trying to be a good mom while chasing down deadbeats and criminals. She has become a skip tracer to learn every trick about staying off the grid—not just to catch people on the run, but to train for the day she might have to run herself.

Disappearing is hard to do these days. Going dark in the age of Facebook and PRISM takes smarts, luck and incredible discipline.

That’s what Sarah Keller needs, because she has her own secret, and if it’s exposed, Zoe will be in danger. And that’s just what happens. An accident reveals Zoe’s whereabouts, and sets some scary opponents on her trail.

With their cover blown, Sarah takes Zoe on the run across the Southwest. She scrambles for safety with only her wits, her skip tracing skills and her meager savings to rely on. She’s backed up—maybe—by a U.S. Marshal and a nun. She’s up against the FBI and a criminal clan that wants to grab Zoe for their own purposes.

shadowtracerIt’s a chase, a game of hide and seek, with a little girl’s life at stake. And at bottom Sarah is fighting to keep Zoe from being grabbed by her father’s family. The clan will do anything to get hold of Zoe. Sarah’s every brave and desperate move is designed to save Zoe from them.

Sarah considers herself half shepherd, watching over Zoe, and half wolf, running down rogues. But when push comes to shove, Sarah’s a hero. She’ll have to be, if she’s going to survive.

Thanks, Meg! The Shadow Tracer is out now! Readers, will you check this one out?

Stay tuned for many more guest posts from mystery and thriller authors throughout Private Eye July!

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