A thoughtful, ambitious story of hikers and wolves in Alaska.


Kizis tells the story of a fateful interaction between humans and wolves in the Alaskan wilderness in this debut novel.

Morgan Greene, a 30-something newspaper journalist and practitioner of aikido, moves to Anchorage, Alaska, to feel close to the wilderness. She’s about to feel even closer. She sets out with three friends on a four-night trek up Matanuska-Susitna Valley to see Denali. “Yes, all four of us have extensive wilderness experience, else we wouldn’t be trying such a trip in the first place, especially not this late in the year,” explains Morgan. “In much of the world, mid- to late September is no big deal, but in Alaska, in any part of Alaska, September is a time of reckoning.” Her companions are her three best friends: Mariska, an academic of Athabascan descent; Dave, an ornery paramedic; and Jack, a jovial world traveler. Unbeknownst to the quartet, they are heading into territory occupied by two wolf packs: the Fire Creek, who have recently been beset by a pair of hunters, and the Chelatna, a powerful group led by two alphas. The fate of these three packs—one human, two wolf—becomes unexpectedly intertwined. Their journey will reawaken the ancient fear and fascination people have had for wolves…and maybe teach them what survival in Alaska is really about. Kizis’ prose is as expansive as the story’s landscape, weaving history, biology, and travelogue into his novel to give it the feel of a modern epic. The narration shifts between Morgan’s first-person perspective and a third-person that follows the movement of the wolves. The book is less an adventure story than a meditative exploration of the relationship between humans and nature; its 425-plus pages are full of digressions and heady conversations. Even so, it reads quickly and is rarely boring.

A thoughtful, ambitious story of hikers and wolves in Alaska.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-9829712-3-9

Page Count: 439

Publisher: Stone Ring Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 6, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2018

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The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with...


Talk-show queen takes tumble as millions jeer.

Nora Bridges is a wildly popular radio spokesperson for family-first virtues, but her loyal listeners don't know that she walked out on her husband and teenaged daughters years ago and didn't look back. Now that a former lover has sold racy pix of naked Nora and horny himself to a national tabloid, her estranged daughter Ruby, an unsuccessful stand-up comic in Los Angeles, has been approached to pen a tell-all. Greedy for the fat fee she's been promised, Ruby agrees and heads for the San Juan Islands, eager to get reacquainted with the mom she plans to betray. Once in the family homestead, nasty Ruby alternately sulks and glares at her mother, who is temporarily wheelchair-bound as a result of a post-scandal car crash. Uncaring, Ruby begins writing her side of the story when she's not strolling on the beach with former sweetheart Dean Sloan, the son of wealthy socialites who basically ignored him and his gay brother Eric. Eric, now dying of cancer and also in a wheelchair, has returned to the island. This dismal threesome catch up on old times, recalling their childhood idylls on the island. After Ruby's perfect big sister Caroline shows up, there's another round of heartfelt talk. Nora gradually reveals the truth about her unloving husband and her late father's alcoholism, which led her to seek the approval of others at the cost of her own peace of mind. And so on. Ruby is aghast to discover that she doesn't know everything after all, but Dean offers her subdued comfort. Happy endings await almost everyone—except for readers of this nobly preachy snifflefest.

The best-selling author of tearjerkers like Angel Falls (2000) serves up yet another mountain of mush, topped off with syrupy platitudes about life and love.

Pub Date: March 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-609-60737-5

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Crown

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2001

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Thoroughbreds and Virginia blue-bloods cavort, commit murder, and fall in love in Roberts's (Hidden Riches, 1994, etc.) latest romantic thriller — this one set in the world of championship horse racing. Rich, sheltered Kelsey Byden is recovering from a recent divorce when she receives a letter from her mother, Naomi, a woman she has believed dead for over 20 years. When Kelsey confronts her genteel English professor father, though, he sheepishly confesses that, no, her mother isn't dead; throughout Kelsey's childhood, she was doing time for the murder of her lover. Kelsey meets with Naomi and not only finds her quite charming, but the owner of Three Willows, one of the most splendid horse farms in Virginia. Kelsey is further intrigued when she meets Gabe Slater, a blue-eyed gambling man who owns a neighboring horse farm; when one of Gabe's horses is mated with Naomi's, nostrils flare, flanks quiver, and the romance is on. Since both Naomi and Gabe have horses entered in the Kentucky Derby, Kelsey is soon swept into the whirlwind of the Triple Crown, in spite of her family's objections to her reconciliation with the notorious Naomi. The rivalry between the two horse farms remains friendly, but other competitors — one of them is Gabe's father, a vicious alcoholic who resents his son's success — prove less scrupulous. Bodies, horse and human, start piling up, just as Kelsey decides to investigate the murky details of her mother's crime. Is it possible she was framed? The ground is thick with no-goods, including haughty patricians, disgruntled grooms, and jockeys with tragic pasts, but despite all the distractions, the identity of the true culprit behind the mayhem — past and present — remains fairly obvious. The plot lopes rather than races to the finish. Gambling metaphors abound, and sexual doings have a distinctly equine tone. But Roberts's style has a fresh, contemporary snap that gets the story past its own worst excesses.

Pub Date: June 13, 1995

ISBN: 0-399-14059-X

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15, 1995

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