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Blue Wolf: An Alix Thorssen Mystery

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2001

    moving, compelling, taut novel

    This is just an exquisite novel, the best McClendon has produced to date. We¿re back with Alix Thorssen, artist and gallery owner in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, which lies in the shadow of the Teton Mountains, not far from Yellowstone National Park. It¿s a place where not long ago, and over the angry protests of ranchers, and hunters, the gray wolf was re-introduced, using Canadian imports. One older alpha male was nicknamed Old Blue. He survived two years and had a profound effect on the park rangers and ecologists who favored reentry of the wolf into the ecological mix of the Yellowstone-Teton ranges of the Rocky Mountains. Most people, encountering a wolf in the wild, are profoundly affected. McClendon has taken the spare facts and interwoven complexities of human existence in and around Jackson Hole, with the powerful presence of the Blue Wolf. As the characters in this novel rub up against Thorssen, Queen, the reclusive painter, Derek, the dead boy, Terry and Percy Vargas, ranchers and important personages in the area, and Sonny Garrett, attorney, mover and shaker, their lives are significantly changed by the Blue Wolf. Queen wants Alix, who¿s having personal relationship problems at the moment, to try to find out what really happened when Derek Wylie was killed. The problem is that Derek¿s death occurred over twenty years ago. The more a reluctant Alix probes, the more she comes to realize that there is more to the tragedy than first supposed. Her persistence pays off in startling and dangerous ways as she discovers that several people in town have vital information and there appears to be an informal agreement to keep that information secret. Moreover, important people want the entire episode erased from the public consciousness. And there is a dead wolf. Somebody shot a killed a young female wolf which may from be one of the Yellowstone packs. As tempers get out of control Alix sees prejudicial action taken against herself and against Queen. This is a tension-filled novel which shows McClendon¿s keen sense of people and their emotions and their conflicts. And always, watching from the mountains, as Alix and the others caught up in this surprising and twisting tale, is the avatar and the catalyst, the blue wolf. This is a powerful, moving novel.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    engaging amateur sleuth

    Alix Thorssen, owner of the Northern Sun Art Gallery in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, is heavily involved in the Auction For Wildlife. This event supports Teton Land Trust, a coalition of conservationists, hunters, and ranchers. The Federal Government does not completely control Teton Nature Park. Individual ranchers live in the park, trying to make a go at a life that is rapidly fading into the past. <P>Wolves, an endangered species, are let loose in Yellowstone Natural Park. However, the ranchers know the wolves are visiting Teton, killing their livestock and depriving the ranchers of food and income. Alix becomes involved when artist Queen Johns asks her to look into the identity of a boy shot and killed twenty-five years ago. Alix is very good at asking the right people the correct questions and figures out that Queenie¿s son was the one that was killed a quarter of a century ago. Some of the players involved in that deadly event are now prominent and want to stop any investigations. Alix intends to do her best to expose them and give Queenie the closure she desperately needs. <P> BLUE WOLF is a mystery that stars an engaging amateur sleuth, but it is also a novel about human frailties and fears that dog a person their whole life. Lise McClendon captures the essences of the human spirit to perfection, which is why her novels are so realistic. It is been a long time (too long) since an Alix Thorssen mystery was published, but this tale make the wait worth it. <P>Harriet Klausner

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