THE LOOP by Nicholas Evans


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A drier version of Jaws, from the bestselling British novelist (The Horse Whisperer, 1995) whose distinctions so far are of scale rather than content. Hope, Montana, is not exactly the crossroads of a million lives. Barely more than a crossroads itself, it’s a quiet ranching community whose inhabitants are mostly descendants of the original white settlers who moved in a hundred years ago. But a frightening rash of brutal wolf attacks—against both cattle and people—makes Hope the center of more attention than it had ever looked for. Dan Prior, the local rep of the US Wildlife Service, is an Eastern transplant whose long struggle to gain acceptance from the locals is threatened by his role as the enforcer of hated government conservation laws, and his life is suddenly made all the more difficult when the cattlemen (like ranchers Buck Calder and Abe Harding) take it upon themselves to kill the wolves in defiance of the Endangered Species Act. When the hunters are arrested and tried, a media riot puts Hope on the map and brings in its wake environmental crackpots as well as bona fide experts like biologist Helen Ross. Helen is opposed to killing the wolves, but her position is compromised by the adulation of Buck Calder’s teenaged son Luke, who falls in love with her. Luke’s troubled family is haunted by the death of his brother Henry some years earlier; his mother Eleanor responded to the death, and to her husband’s repeated infidelities, by losing her Catholic faith and retreating into depression and despair. Meantime, Helen really just wants to get to the bottom of the wolf slayings, while Buck is looking for trouble and Dan just wants to keep the townsfolk from blowing their lids altogether. Ah, how will it all end? The same sort of sentimental pastiche, written in the same New Age Harlequin prose, that made The Horse Whisperer one of the most inexplicable success stories of the 1990s. (First printing of 650,000; Literary Guild main selection; author tour)

Pub Date: Sept. 8th, 1998
ISBN: 0-385-31700-X
Page count: 464pp
Publisher: Dell
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1998


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