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Black Heart on the Appalachian Trail

Black Heart on the Appalachian Trail

A Novel

In the vast wilderness of the Appalachian Trail, three hikers are searching for answers. Taz Chavis, just released from prison, sees the thru-hike as his path to salvation and a way to distance himself from a toxic relationship. Simone Decker, a young scientist with a dark secret, is desperate to quell her demons. Richard Nelson, a Blackfoot Indian, seeks a final adventure before taking over the family business back home. As they battle hunger, thirst, and loneliness, and traverse the rugged terrain, their paths begin to intersect, and it soon becomes clear that surviving the elements may be the least of their concerns. Hikers are dying along the trail, their broken bodies splayed on the rocks below. Are these falls accidental, the result of carelessness, or is something more sinister at work?
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  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 208 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781439175613 | 
  • October 2012
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HAWKINSVILLE, WYOMING—KING of nowhere—civilization’s intrusion into mesquite, cacti, sand, and rattlesnakes. I grew up here, never thought I’d return, yet here I am. I stretch out my legs, wriggle my prison-issue shoes to release the crimp on my heels, peer out the bus window at a man on the sidewalk. Sunlight bounces off a wine bottle—MD 20/20—cheap, nasty, buzz guaranteed. Between the man’s feet, a dog licks at a brown puddle. Vomit, I assume.

I make my way to the front and down the steps. The feed store butts up to the terminal, and the air smells musty as a compost pile. A settled-in... see more

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About the Author

T.J. Forrester
Photo Courtesy of T. J. Forrester

T.J. Forrester

T.J. Forrester is the author of the novel Miracles, Inc., and his work has appeared in numerous literary journals. An avid long distance hiker, he has thru-hiked the Appalachian Trail, the Pacific Crest Trail, and the Continental Divide Trail in consecutive years. To learn more, visit




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