Cover Image: The Ghost Tracks

The Ghost Tracks

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Member Reviews

I found "The Ghost Tracks" to be very bland and struggled to finish it. It struggled with its sense of identity - the main character was supposed to be seventeen, but most of the time seemed to be older and acted like an adult. Books in which kids hunt ghosts generally have younger main characters and I struggled to make much of this story as it moved from samey, often uninteresting supernatural situations to the other. I got bored very quickly.

Erasmo Cruz, due to history revealed in his back story, starts up a supernatural detective agency initially to help pay for cancer treatment for his grandmother, having his best friend as a sidekick. When it comes to the story that is just about it, the pair then shamble through a few supernatural investigations, none of which set the pulses racing. Set in San Antonio, Texas, the boys realise their hometown is a much scarier place than they ever imagined,

I struggle to see which teen group might be gripped by this story and although it might be seen as an acceptable debut there are many much better YA horror novels on the market to sink your teeth into or recommend to your kids.
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DNF at 49%. This is the 19th book I'm reading via Netgalley, and it's the first I am not going to finish. I had issues with the writing style from the get-go (IMO the book reads very amateurish, there's simply no flow to the prose, no rhythm, it's just words strung together in a perfunctory, sometimes downright awkward way), but I was determined to trudge or at least skip read through it nevertheless, if with gritted teeth. I made it all the way to chapter 17, when the little boy eats his Golden Retriever's intestines ("He was gnawing on it, trying to rip the slimy tube open so that he might feast on its contents."). 
Now, a decent writer doesn't have to resort to cheap gross-out tactics to scare his/her readers; this kind of would-be manipulation speaks to a serious lack of skills, which becomes even more apparent when we next get the big sister's reaction to this mind-boggling act of carnage: "Echo... He was a good dog..." I was literally falling off the couch with laughter, which is not exactly what I'm looking for in a horror novel. Oh, and by the way, does the sister talk to the authorities about this, or a doctor/mental health specialist, or a priest?
Of course not. She looks at Craigslist.
What with the stilted prose, failed pacing, seriously clunky structure, weird characterization, lack of females (except for grandma; the most unconvincing police officer in literary history; and of course The Girl, who's also the MC's love interest <insert eye roll>), less than believable storylines, AND a true wet towel of a protagonist who reads like he's no older than 14 and is forever either vomiting or downing glasses of milk, I felt like I was reading some teen's first attempt at a horror novel. I'm sorry, but life's too short.
My apologies to the publisher and to Netgalley, but this novel would have needed a lot more work to make it worthwhile.
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Erasmo Cruz is about to make a decision that will not only put him in a whole bunch of danger, but also change his life.. 
Erasmo has decided that he needs to make money to help pay for his grandmas cancer treatments.. So because he had this thing happen to him, that we learn about further into the story, and has done a ton of research. He decides that he is going to be a paranormal investigator and help move earth bound spirits to where they belong.. After he puts up the add he and his friend Rat came up with he finds 3 people with stories that seem like they could be up his alley.. Each of these cases puts Erasmo into super dangerous situations., where he ends in the hospital, and has the police asking questions.. I really like how even though he is advertising himself as a paranormal investigator, he does look for normal explainations for everything.. 
My favorite of the three investigations was with Nora and Sonny.. and I definitely didn't expect the way that one turned out. The other two cases were very interesting.
I just wish there were more actual paranormal things happening.. What we did get I really liked, I just wanted more. I think this was a really good debut book, and I will look for other things this author writes in the future.
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"A seventeen-year-old Texan from the wrong side of the tracks starts a supernatural detective agency - this is Fear Street for a diverse America.

Erasmo Cruz is from the wrong side of the tracks. His dad was a junkie who overdosed. His mom chose to run off rather than raise him. His only passion is the supernatural, and his only family is his grandmother, whose aches and pains, he soon learns, aren't just from old age but from cancer.

Desperate to help his grandmother pay for treatment, Erasmo sets up shop as a paranormal investigator. After witnessing a series of inexplicable events, he must uncover the truth behind his clients' seemingly impossible claims. From hauntings to exorcisms, Erasmo soon finds that San Antonio is a much scarier place than even he knew."

ALL about the supernatural PI!
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The fact that I finished this 300+ page in one day shows how hooked I was from the beginning!!

•My Thoughts:

I was not able to put this down! I had to know what was going on with this crazy adventure that the MC, Erasmo, put himself into as a paranormal investigator!

Erasmo thought he was going to go help remove some spirits and free them or help them move on but what he actually got was some insane cases! Expect gore, expect to get freaked out, expect violence and expect to go on a thrilling adventure.

I also liked that the setting was in San Antonio TX which is one of my favorite places to go visit!!
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3-4 stars.  While I was able to finish this book, I definitely didn’t love it or crave reading it.  I think the writing style was a bit difficult for me, which made the story a bit harder to digest and enjoy!  I did find some parts really enjoyable and found the topic intriguing.  I was going to rate 2-3 stars, but found out it was a debut and decided to rate an extra star, because I do think knowing it’s the first book, made the writing style blunders a bit more understandable.  I think this is also hard to review, because in being a bit disengaged, I’m not sure I got everything a reader should.  So, I think saying give it a shot, especially if you enjoy paranormal type books!  

Will use top Amazon reviewer number on release!
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2.5/5
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I still don't really know where I stand with this novel.... the writing was okay, it could definitely be better, but at a nice standard for a debut author. The characters weren't the most likeable, and sometimes I felt like the side characters- mostly Rat- dropped or acquired personality traits for the sake of the plot or the scene.
At the beginning, I felt like the pacing was too fast, and didn't provide enough context for me to not be confused for a few chapters. This issue was resolved by then, but still a little bit of a shaky start. Another thing is Erasmo's grandmother's illness. The synopsis makes it out to be a large part of the plot (to me, at least) but in reality it's only there to kick off the story when Erasmo places the advertisement. He didn't really seem desperate enough for the money to help her. There are a few other thing I want to nitpick at, but I won't for the sake of spoilers. One thing I will say though, is that I really wish the conclusion to Nora's storyline had been extended.

Now onto what I like!
This is a horror novel, and while it isn't your typical thriller /slasher, it still managed to keep me up at night (chapter 17, i'm looking at you). My favourite storyline out of the three was Nora and Sonny's. Every time their situation was discussed, the mood instantly grew darker, and actually really creeped me out (lol)
I don't know how to say this properly without spoilers, but perhaps my favourite part of The Ghost Tracks was the difference in the reader's and Erasmo's opinions and thoughts, how you are inclined to believe the opposite of what he believes, and what you find out at the end. Actually, there are quite a few shocking things..... when the book is released I will come back to explain but hopefully you know what I mean!
Overall, I gave this novel 2.5 stars as it is a little difficult to get into, especially as it is so confusing to understand to begin with. I did enjoy it however, and will definitely remember it for a long time thanks to how unnerving it was for me (especially for someone who 1. is scared fairly easily and 2. reads almost exclusively at night >.<).

<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58383351-the-ghost-tracks" style="float: left; padding-right: 20px"><img border="0" alt="The Ghost Tracks" src="https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1628220247l/58383351._SX98_.jpg" /></a><a href="https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/58383351-the-ghost-tracks">The Ghost Tracks</a> by <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/21604097.Celso_Hurtado">Celso Hurtado</a><br/>
My rating: <a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4198752538">3 of 5 stars</a><br /><br />
thank you to netgalley and inkshares for providing me with a digital arc of this book!<br />2.5/5<br />-------------<br />I still don't really know where I stand with this novel.... the writing was okay, it could definitely be better, but at a nice standard for a debut author. The characters weren't the most likeable, and sometimes I felt like the side characters- mostly Rat- dropped or acquired personality traits for the sake of the plot or the scene. <br />At the beginning, I felt like the pacing was too fast, and didn't provide enough context for me to not be confused for a few chapters. This issue was resolved by then, but still a little bit of a shaky start. Another thing is Erasmo's grandmother's illness. The synopsis makes it out to be a large part of the plot (to me, at least) but in reality it's only there to kick off the story when Erasmo places the advertisement. He didn't really seem desperate enough for the money to help her. There are a few other thing I want to nitpick at, but I won't for the sake of spoilers. One thing I will say though, is that I really wish the conclusion to Nora's storyline had been extended.<br /><br />Now onto what I like!<br />This is a horror novel, and while it isn't your typical thriller /slasher, it still managed to keep me up at night (chapter 17, i'm looking at you). My favourite storyline out of the three was Nora and Sonny's. Every time their situation was discussed, the mood instantly grew darker, and actually really creeped me out (lol)<br />I don't know how to say this properly without spoilers, but perhaps my favourite part of The Ghost Tracks was the difference in the reader's and Erasmo's opinions and thoughts, how you are inclined to believe the opposite of what he believes, and what you find out at the end. Actually, there are quite a few shocking things..... when the book is released I will come back to explain but hopefully you know what I mean!<br />Overall, I gave this novel 2.5 stars as it is a little difficult to get into, especially as it is so confusing to understand to begin with. I did enjoy it however, and will definitely remember it for a long time thanks to how unnerving it was for me (especially for someone who 1. is scared fairly easily and 2. reads almost exclusively at night >.<).

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<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/83857913-liz">View all my reviews</a>
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A very interesting read. Not sure if the ghost tracks myth is a real one. I'm going to look it up.
Alittle predictable at times but enjoyable all the same
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This novel held my attention from start to finish.  With fantastical plot lines and unbelievably happenings I was hooked.  The main characters were well developed and I found myself emotionally invested in hoping everything worked out for them. Just enough creepy and gory scenes to keep me turning the pages. A perfect ending. Hope to read more from Celso Hurtado.

Thank you NetGalley for this arc
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I think Ghost Tracks was definitely an interesting book, with a fun concept. Lord knows I’ve thought about what it’d be like to be a paranormal investigator, so to have a young character with those same dreams and random tidbits of knowledge was great to read. My biggest complaint is with the pacing, which was a bit all over the place in multiple areas of the book. Aside from that, an enjoyable experience
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**I received an ARC from the publisher on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Once I started reading this book, I couldn't put it down. It keeps you guessing till the end. Well written and a solid plot.
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I think this has a ton of potential as a series. It’s well written and intriguing. However I can only give three stars because it feels like it’s four different stories forced together. The last quarter of the book is just a rush of a ton of stuff and it feels cluttered.
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Thanks to the publisher for providing an eARC of The Ghost Tracks in exchange for an honest review.

I didn't really enjoy The Ghost Tracks but I'm not sure if it came down to actual character or plot issues or if it was all just the narration style making me think the characters and plot were wooden, but the narration style felt very underdeveloped and didn't just work for me.
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CW: Intense and detailed depictions of gore, drug use, child abuse/neglect, sexual assault, murder and attempted suicide.

I received an ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Tl;dr: The Ghost Tracks is a solid tale of the macabre for experience YA horror fans, but it's marred by a confused identity and uncertainty of when to end.

The ghost tracks follows 17-yr old Erasmo as he desperately tries to monetize his knowledge of the paranormal to help pay for his Grandmother's soon-to-start cancer treatment. This leads to him taking on 3 cases, none of which being what they seem. First comes Nora, a teenage girl singularly caring for her younger brother, whom she believes a demon has possesed. Then Billy, a quick-tempered hulk, claims to have visions of the future and asks Erasmo to be his witness. Finally comes Leander, who claims to be haunted by a girl who was murdered after leaving the bar with him one night. 

Overall. I'm not too sure what to think about The Ghost Tracks. While certainly thrilling and entertaining in parts, it also fell short in many instances. 

I did find the story to be overall compelling. The details put into the various horrors were surprisingly solid and dark. The Ghost Tracks is not afraid to get disturbing, which I honestly appreciate in a YA horror novel. There were times that I was shivering in anticipation of what was about to happen. Saying Erasmo and his friend, Rat, get it rough is a gross understatement. While perhaps too extreme to be considered "gateway horror," I feel that this book is a solid choice for YA's already well-experienced in horror media.

It also tackles some real issues, including addiction, neglect, suicidality, and socioeconomic struggles, but not in the feel-good way you often see. Instead, we see the ugly side of the issues, with no real resolutions offered. Instead, we are merely given a glimmer of hope that the issues may be endured. This is a breath of fresh air that may show readers struggling with similar issues that they are seen and not alone in these struggles, without trivializing their own experiences.

Of course, The Ghost Tracks is not without problems. The beginning and ending had some pacing issues: For the former, events happened back-to-back with a semblence of cause-and-effect, but it felt as if these connections were loose plot threads tied together instead of conscious decisions by the MC. As for the ending... It felt like the ending could have occured at many different points in the book. Additionally, it often felt like The Ghost Tracks didn't know quite what kind of book it wanted to be. Multiple times, the book tries to make a "twist" by claiming the cases are paranormal, then switching back to a "humans are the real monsters" trope, and back. 

All that being said, the most common complaint I have lies within the writing style: Feelings are all described in the exact same way, and they are described in almost every other sentence. A direct example would be, "Uneasiness still slithered in his gut." The emotion is always directly named, passively affecting a character with some minor imagery attached at the end. It comes off as trying to follow the old "Show, don't tell," but ends up just telling in an indirect way. There's also some minor odd points that took me aback that most probably wouldn't worry about, such as why veins are described as green.
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This debut novel is really outstanding! I really enjoyed the character evolution and the characters and I love the supernatural elements of the plot. Some parts of this book may be a bit hard to read as there is quite a bit of gore with all horror books but if you can tolerate it, the book is really worthwhile. Please don't get in cars with strangers!
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TW: gory descriptions, sexual assault attempts and death

[in my opinion this book should not be marketed as YA as the descriptions were very um d e t a i l e d]

this was a really good debut novel, especially for paranormal fiction work. again, like i said, too many detailed descriptions of gore to be a YA novel (but hey as long as you don't faint and hit your head reading this novel, it's all going to be good!)

this book was okay to me. i liked most parts of it and was a bit wary about the others. overall great book it was enjoyable.

thank you netgalley for providing me with an eARC in exchange for an honest review <3
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You know how you have to willingly suspend your disbelief when you read fantasy or horror? I could believe the ghost stories in The Ghost Tracks, the weirdos Erasmo attracted after running an ad for being a paranormal investigator, but I couldn't not believe that he and his friend kept ending up in the hospital and were never once asked for proof of health insurance. Just doesn't happen in real life or in your wildest fantasy. What world are they living in where they weren't visited by the hospital's business office?

Seriously, though, I enjoyed this book and the trouble Erasmo and Rat kept getting into. There's a lot a heartbreak and personal growth through the book and the boys come to terms with the life their less-then-desirable parents left to them. Plus, there's cannibalism! Lots of adventure, mystery, ghosts, and cannibalism!

Actually, it is gory. Several incidents of people being beaten with a baseball bat, cut with knives, and cannibalism!
A dog is hurt. The boys end up in the hospital after several gory incidences and the hospital never informs the police. Just ain't gonna happen in real life. But, I still believe the ghost parts.

You know how it is when you see a movie and the audience yells, "Don't go in that house!" This is how Ghost Tracks is. Erasmo just kept getting into cars with the wrong people. I wanted to shout, "Don't get in that car!" Kids. You can't tell them anything.

Good twists. Good mystery. Teenage angst but they work on it. If you can get over the flesh-eating and the fact that the hospital didn't call the police when a teenager has had a chunk bitten out of him (and eaten), then you'll enjoy this book. Just don't get into cars with people you barely know.

Thanks to Netgalley and Inkshares for supplying me with an eARC of The Ghost Tracks in exchange for an honest review.
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First of all, thank you to Netgalley and Inkshares for allowing me the chance to read this book!

Trigger warnings for this novel include: body horror, gore, blood, sexual assault attempts, drug abuse discussions, and death

The Ghost Tracks introduces us to protagonist Erasmo Cruz, a seventeen-year-old from San Antonio who is living with his grandmother and living with the trauma of his parents not being in his life. When his grandmother is diagnosed with cancer, he decides to draw from his passions and start a side business as a paranormal detective to make money for her treatments. He and his friend Rat find themselves in a whirlwind of trouble when they realize that San Antonio and their scared clients are not what they first appeared on the surface.

I decided to pick up this book originally because it appeared on my homepage as being horror, a genre I don't have a lot of experience with but have been trying to get into. The cover and the description were both extremely promising, so I figured this would be a good introduction. I can safely say that this novel definitely delivered on the horror front! The supernatural aspects were so interesting to read as a believer myself, especially the stories about the demons and precognition. There were several parts where I found my heart racing in anticipation of what would happen next, and several other where I found my stomach turning in disgust (in a good way). Reading it at night, which I had made a promise to myself to do, only heightened that. I can safely say for my first horror, I was not disappointed by any means. 

I absolutely adored Erasmo as a main character. Seeing a character of color as a lead just in general is amazing to see in stories. But it was also seeing his evolution from the start, a boy just trying to learn as much about the paranormal as possible while avoiding dealing with the horrible thing that happened to him at the Ghost Tracks; to the middle, a boy tortured moreso than we knew by the loss of his parents and desperate to try to do anything to understand who they were and why they left him; to the end, a boy who finally came to terms with the Ghost Tracks and the energy that saved him and a boy who did not need to be alone and go down the same path as his parents and who could prevail...All of it was just magical. All of his pain, sadness, and fear felt so incredibly real. And it just makes me so happy to see him have an assumably happy ending. Rat too, all the same for him. Seeing him deal with his own daddy issues and learn to rely on his friend and strengthen their relationship was so special.

I also enjoyed the descriptions and world building. It was really clear to see the locations within the world and their proximity to one another. it was also just interesting learning about local culture and legends of San Antonio. I'm admittedly far from there, so it was very eye opening!

The plot was also just so cool. With the three separate stories going on, there were so many twists and turns that I wasn't expecting all the way throughout that I had my hand clasping over my mouth almost every other chapter. So many times was I lulled into a false sense of security only to be shocked in the best way possible. It was just downright amazing storytelling from start to finish. However, I think that the three stories occurring all at once made things a little bit confusing to follow. Nora, Billy, and Leander all had interesting stories on their own and I enjoyed seeing their resolutions. However, it was just a lot to follow and it made things sometimes feel TOO drama filled. I think if the three stories had been split up into sections within the novel, or even three different novels, it would've made a lot more sense. 

I also think that it's definitely a mistake to market this as YA. I don't think this is the author's fault per say, as the main character is a teenager and most of the characters within the story are too. However, a lot of the more gory descriptions of certain plot points was stomach turning even for me, someone in my 20s. At many points I had to put it down to recover. . I cannot imagine how well a 12-15 year old picking this up thinking its strictly about ghosts would fare reading it. Just something for consideration.

However, all things considered, I think this was a great debut novel! I cannot wait to see what Celso Hurtado comes out with next. I would recommend this to people who are into gore-y or paranormal horror from authors like Stephen King but are wanting a quicker, immersive read. I also recommend this to people who like strong protagonists with complex backstories.
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Stunning! This debut novel is outstanding! I immediately fell into adoration with the characters and admired the Character Evolution throughout,  not limited to just the protagonist but inclusive of other subordinate characters as well. Tantalizing for believers in the Supernatural or/and Afterlife,  engrossing for those who don't believe,  THE GHOST TRACKS is worth reading for so many aspects! I read it in one session,  unable to stop, and I finished with an immense satisfaction, suffused with hope and excitement. 


May debut author Celso Hurtado have a long and creatively productive career, because this author is an exceptional wordsmith!
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