WOLF IN THE CROSSHAIRS by Susan  Klaus

WOLF IN THE CROSSHAIRS

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this third installment of a series, an eco-terrorist targets the culprits slaughtering wolves in the U.S.

Florida native Christian Roberts had previously made it his mission to save sharks. Anonymously dubbing himself Captain Nemo, he initiated an onslaught against the shark fin trade, resulting in explosions and deaths. Now Christian, a millionaire from horse racing and an inheritance, sets his sights on the systematic killing of wolves in his home country. He bombs an Idaho restaurant that sponsors a lethal “wolf derby.” Leaving a warning signed by Captain Nemo draws the public’s attention to the carnage but also puts the spotlight on Christian, who many suspect is the infamous eco-terrorist. At the same time, Christian stumbles onto a conspiracy: the government’s apparent misappropriation of funds relevant to a wolf study. Exposing this necessitates help from cybersecurity specialist Steve and his wife, Karen; Christian’s ex-girlfriend Trish Stevenson, a reporter; and mobster associates like Sal Lamotte. As expected, this incites powerful individuals, who may be behind a recent homicide that mysteriously points to Christian as the murderer. They also go after his friends, who Christian tries to ensure are safe while taking down the group seemingly determined to eradicate the wolf population. Klaus (Shark Fin Soup, 2018, etc.) heavily ties this volume of her series to preceding novels. Christian’s focus on “wildlife causes,” for example, and the depression afflicting him in this story both stem from a loved one’s death in an earlier tale. Accordingly, his motives aren’t always clear. He has an unmistakable fondness for animals but occasionally seems to be subverting boredom, a potential trigger for depression. Regardless, the baddies are unquestionably villainous and largely deserving of Christian’s ire. This somewhat lessens the impact of his criminal acts and even makes his mob pals likable, especially Frankie and Mitch, who become Steve and Karen’s bodyguards. Klaus deftly generates a swift pace with complex characters whose agendas aren’t easy to predict and myriad scenes of the hero or his allies in peril.

An insightful, entertaining thriller that sheds light on an important environmental issue.

Page count: 360pp
Publisher: Clay Gulley Publishing
Program: Kirkus Indie
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