Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s found a job protecting a remote forest preserve in Virginian Appalachia where his main responsibilities include tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s hard work, and totally solitary—perfect to hide away from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, the quiet solitude he’s so desperately sought is suddenly at risk.
More bears are killed on the preserve and Rice’s obsession with catching the poachers escalates, leading to hostile altercations with the locals and attention from both the law and Rice’s employers. Partnering with his predecessor, a scientist who hopes to continue her research on the preserve, Rice puts into motion a plan that could expose the poachers but risks revealing his own whereabouts to the dangerous people he was running from in the first place.
James McLaughlin expertly brings the beauty and danger of Appalachia to life. The result is an elemental, slow burn of a novel—one that will haunt you long after you turn the final page.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really liked this one! I would recommend it to anyone who is looking for a read that takes place in a woodsy setting, who appreciates the outdoors and is looking for a mystery thriller.
I started it out on digital and ultimately changed to the audiobook version, which I’d highly recommend as it made all the difference.
I really liked the way the author set up the scenes. It was gripping and suspenseful and there were inter sprinklings of humor which I much appreciated. The characters were compelling in the sense that their thoughts and subsequent actions made me want to “see what happens next” with each line. I liked the plausible approach to everything that was happening from the mindset of those participating in the drug and bear cartels to the way to the interactions and dialogue between characters.
I did feel that the author could have made the writing style a bit more colorful to make the storyline match the risks that were being presented. The descriptions for example: the green grass, whitened teeth, a strong grip, overcast sky, the hot sun… the hot sun… and repeated again, the hot sun… The story structure as a result was not as strong as perhaps it could have been.
I guess I wanted a bit more picturesque, creatively written, take a risk prose. I will say that there were wonderfully written parts that were engaging to my soul. I wanted just a bit more of what drew me to the book in the first place. But I enjoyed the story for the most part as it’s definitely not boring. There were just a few opportunities within the writing itself that I think could have really added depth and vividness to the story, but I really liked it overall and will look forward to reading more books like this author.