Bears and wolves in Yellowstone’s backcountry don’t hold a candle to the danger posed by the people sent there to study them.
It’s been almost two years since Yellowstone lost two of its park team in a grizzly attack caught on film. From what Chuck Bender sees on the found footage, the bear attacks with predatory aggression, though Chuck’s background in archaeology doesn’t exactly make him an expert in animal behavior. The video isn’t enough to drive Chuck off his mission to join a team of researchers headed to the backcountry of Yellowstone for two weeks, nor does it deter him from bringing his family. Janelle, who’s used to Chuck’s travels, has adopted his lifestyle, and her two young girls, Carmelita and Rosie, will be happy as long as they aren’t left out. When Chief Science Ranger Lex Hancock introduces Chuck to his traveling companions, Chuck is shocked at the extent to which team members take their research personally. There’s a clear dividing line between the team studying wolves and the team studying bears, and much like their animal counterparts, there’s no love lost between the two groups. That’s especially true for researchers Sarah and Toby, who get into an altercation at the first meeting Chuck attends. Chuck worries about the possibilities of grizzlies in the backcountry, but given such an aggressive and adversarial research team, it’s possible the scariest animals in the park are the humans. Graham’s focus on the surrounding mystery and noncontinuing characters is an improvement over his habit of dwelling on the personal lives of his continuing cast (Mountain Rampage, 2015, etc.).
A book by the numbers, balancing potential danger and shady characters without any great surprises.