An endearing, if sometimes painful, read for animal lovers and a wake-up call for everyone else.

READ REVIEW

Wolf Time

This spiritual novel by Moritsch (The Soul of Yosemite, 2012) tells interweaving stories of wolves and their human advocates.

In December 2013, Sage McAllister lives in a log cabin on a privately owned tract of land in Yosemite National Park. One night, two adult gray wolves appear on her deck. Sage is a former biologist with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, so she knows that the last wolf in California was killed in 1924, making her new visitors quite miraculous. Even more incredible, the wolves speak to her, introducing themselves as Tish and Issa. They explain that they approached her because she’s a writer and they want their story told. In order to help her better record their journey, the wolves gently nip the back of her neck and bring her consciousness into “Wolf Time,” allowing her to take mental excursions into their past. Meanwhile, 11-year-old Blue is about to join Idaho’s hunting culture at the behest of his Uncle Marshall, even though the boy and his 7-year-old sister, Sunny, respect animals and find them beautiful. The siblings discover a wolf den near their house and bring home a sickly, abandoned pup. Can their love for the wolves spread to the ranchers, hunters, and others like Uncle Marshall who seek to exterminate the species? The book eventually connects several characters through a spiritual network that includes deceased wolves and humans who realize that “once fear moves out of a person, compassion can move in.” Ecologist Moritsch delivers an advocacy narrative that initially feels playful. Its use of talking animals will broaden its appeal to middle-grade audiences. Its dreamy prose and shocking statistics, though, will draw in teens and adults; during Sage’s transition to Wolf Time, for example, she says that “It felt as if I descended a long distance...floating backwards down a spiral staircase.” Moritsch goes on to inform readers that in the last century, there have only been two humans allegedly killed by wolves (in 2005 and 2010); domestic dogs, however, “kill between twenty and thirty people every year,” the book notes.

An endearing, if sometimes painful, read for animal lovers and a wake-up call for everyone else.

Pub Date: N/A

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: 293

Publisher: CJM Books

Review Posted Online: June 10, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2016

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

DEVOLUTION

Are we not men? We are—well, ask Bigfoot, as Brooks does in this delightful yarn, following on his bestseller World War Z (2006).

A zombie apocalypse is one thing. A volcanic eruption is quite another, for, as the journalist who does a framing voice-over narration for Brooks’ latest puts it, when Mount Rainier popped its cork, “it was the psychological aspect, the hyperbole-fueled hysteria that had ended up killing the most people.” Maybe, but the sasquatches whom the volcano displaced contributed to the statistics, too, if only out of self-defense. Brooks places the epicenter of the Bigfoot war in a high-tech hideaway populated by the kind of people you might find in a Jurassic Park franchise: the schmo who doesn’t know how to do much of anything but tries anyway, the well-intentioned bleeding heart, the know-it-all intellectual who turns out to know the wrong things, the immigrant with a tough backstory and an instinct for survival. Indeed, the novel does double duty as a survival manual, packed full of good advice—for instance, try not to get wounded, for “injury turns you from a giver to a taker. Taking up our resources, our time to care for you.” Brooks presents a case for making room for Bigfoot in the world while peppering his narrative with timely social criticism about bad behavior on the human side of the conflict: The explosion of Rainier might have been better forecast had the president not slashed the budget of the U.S. Geological Survey, leading to “immediate suspension of the National Volcano Early Warning System,” and there’s always someone around looking to monetize the natural disaster and the sasquatch-y onslaught that follows. Brooks is a pro at building suspense even if it plays out in some rather spectacularly yucky episodes, one involving a short spear that takes its name from “the sucking sound of pulling it out of the dead man’s heart and lungs.” Grossness aside, it puts you right there on the scene.

A tasty, if not always tasteful, tale of supernatural mayhem that fans of King and Crichton alike will enjoy.

Pub Date: June 16, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-9848-2678-7

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Del Rey/Ballantine

Review Posted Online: Feb. 10, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2020

Did you like this book?

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

THEN SHE WAS GONE

Ten years after her teenage daughter went missing, a mother begins a new relationship only to discover she can't truly move on until she answers lingering questions about the past.

Laurel Mack’s life stopped in many ways the day her 15-year-old daughter, Ellie, left the house to study at the library and never returned. She drifted away from her other two children, Hanna and Jake, and eventually she and her husband, Paul, divorced. Ten years later, Ellie’s remains and her backpack are found, though the police are unable to determine the reasons for her disappearance and death. After Ellie’s funeral, Laurel begins a relationship with Floyd, a man she meets in a cafe. She's disarmed by Floyd’s charm, but when she meets his young daughter, Poppy, Laurel is startled by her resemblance to Ellie. As the novel progresses, Laurel becomes increasingly determined to learn what happened to Ellie, especially after discovering an odd connection between Poppy’s mother and her daughter even as her relationship with Floyd is becoming more serious. Jewell’s (I Found You, 2017, etc.) latest thriller moves at a brisk pace even as she plays with narrative structure: The book is split into three sections, including a first one which alternates chapters between the time of Ellie’s disappearance and the present and a second section that begins as Laurel and Floyd meet. Both of these sections primarily focus on Laurel. In the third section, Jewell alternates narrators and moments in time: The narrator switches to alternating first-person points of view (told by Poppy’s mother and Floyd) interspersed with third-person narration of Ellie’s experiences and Laurel’s discoveries in the present. All of these devices serve to build palpable tension, but the structure also contributes to how deeply disturbing the story becomes. At times, the characters and the emotional core of the events are almost obscured by such quick maneuvering through the weighty plot.

Dark and unsettling, this novel’s end arrives abruptly even as readers are still moving at a breakneck speed.

Pub Date: April 24, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5464-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Atria

Review Posted Online: Feb. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2018

Did you like this book?

more