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Fiction Review: A Solitude of Wolverines

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Book By Book

I took advantage of the seasonal R.I.P. Challenge and Series September event to finally read a book I have heard wonderful things about: A Solitude of Wolverines by Alice Henderson. I first heard about this series on the Book Cougars podcast and bought this first book for my husband. I thoroughly enjoyed this outdoor thrill ride.

Wildlife biologist Alex Carter is attending a wetlands dedication ceremony near Boston when a man comes through the crowd shooting. He is particularly focused on her, since she discovered the bird that cancelled the development slated for the area, which resulted in him losing his job and home. Alex escapes unharmed but deeply shook up. When an old professor calls later that day to ask if she could fill in at the last minute on a wolverine population study in the mountains of Montana, Alex is only too happy to leave the city and get back to the wilderness, where she feels at peace. She’s been hired by the land trust that purchased over 20,000 acres of wilderness. It was the site of a ski resort that had its heyday in the 1930′s-60′s. Now, Alex is staying alone in the spooky old resort (think The Shining kind of vibes) when she’s not backpacking through the beautiful mountains and forests on the land. She sets up “traps” with meat to capture photos of the elusive and solitary wolverines, in the hopes of finding some living on the property. From her very first day in Montana, though, Alex experiences both covert and very open hostility and threats. Ranchers, hunters, and trappers are not at all happy about this land being designated as conservation land. Alex meets a few welcoming people nearby and in town (26 miles away), but as the threats and danger ramp up, she is very much on her own on the property, trying to fend off increasingly violent threats and protect the animals on the land.

I thought I’d enjoy this novel because I enjoy most thrillers, and I love the outdoors and nature, but it surpassed even my high expectations. It’s an original premise, a thriller with a wildlife biologist at its center, and Henderson is an excellent writer who carries it out beautifully. The thriller is action-packed, right from the very first pages when Alex is shot at to the breath-taking climax. The mystery here is a good, twisty one with surprises that I never saw coming, and the suspense is fast-paced. That gripping story is set against the gorgeous backdrop of the Montana mountains, with plenty of stunning descriptions of the natural world and fascinating information about wolverines, as Alex proceeds with her study. The characters here are fully fleshed out; Alex is a likable three-dimensional character that I came to care about and was rooting for. This outdoor adventure thriller has it all and kept me riveted from beginning to end. I can’t wait to read book two, A Blizzard of Polar Bears, which I also bought for my husband last year (see the pattern here?).

309 pages, William Morrow

This book fits in the following 2023 Reading Challenges:

Mount TBR Challenge

Literary Escapes Challenge – Montana

R.I.P. Challenge

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