“The Wild Inside” by Jamey Bradbury is part paranormal, part thriller and part horror. This debut novel is very character driven, specifically with the protagonist Tracy Petrikoff, where readers wonder if everything that happens to her is driven by her imagination, some delusions or was indeed reality.
“Tracy is hard to pin down,” Bradbury said. “Sometimes even I wonder if she is part vampire or a werewolf that has not completely transformed. There is a genetics quality with the connection coming from the family members. She is tough to like. She is problematic as she makes her decisions based on selfish and stubborn motivations. In some ways, she is an unlikeable narrator. But she also has good qualities of being loyal to her family, very caring, and a naturalist. I think I would call her more of a difficult character than an unlikeable one. I do hope the reader can find in her something that they like, admire, or at least understand.”
People meet Tracy, a natural born hunter and trapper who loves the Alaskan wilderness, where she spends her days in the remote forest by her house. She still has not come to grips with her mother’s sudden death that occurred two years ago. For Tracy, it was her mother who understood her, allowing her freedom, yet laying down three important rules: Never lose sight of the house, never come home with dirty hands, and most importantly never make a person bleed. The reader finds out that Tracy gains essential strength from drinking the blood of her prey while also temporarily mind-melding with victims.
The paranormal comes into play as “with my idea is that the mom had this weird genetic abnormality passed down through generations to the women by the women. I originally wrote it where Tracy’s mom would say, ‘My own mom didn’t understand me because it had skipped a generation.’ Her mom struggled with it because, unlike Tracy, she wanted a normal life. Both connect with animals and people. It is the supernatural quality of the book. What she gets from the blood is the ability to understand their experience, their thoughts, and their desires. The mythology I created is that if Tracy and her mom just tasted a little of the blood they could have only a slight impression. But if they drank the blood of a person or animal they are able to get all the thoughts and feelings. Basically, they have access to others feelings and impressions.”
But now, because of being expelled from school, she is prevented by her father to do what she loves, working with their dogs and trapping in the wilderness. Rebelling against him, she goes into the forest anyway and it is there she is attacked by a burly man who eventually shows up at her family’s house with a knife wound. Almost at the same time, a mysterious drifter appears looking for a job. Tracy senses, Jesse Goodwin, is hiding something and is determined to get to the bottom of his secrets.
It is a book where readers will constantly turn the pages, wondering who is this protagonist, Tracy.