Bearskin

Bearskin

by James A. McLaughlin

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

WINNER OF THE 2019 EDGAR FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL

Bearskin is visceral, raw, and compelling—filled with sights, smells, and sounds truly observed.  It’s a powerful debut and an absolute showcase of exceptional prose.  There are very few first novels when I feel compelled to circle brilliant passages, but James McLaughlin’s writing had me doing just that.” —C.J. Box, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Disappeared

Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s found a job protecting a remote forest preserve in Virginian Appalachia where his main responsibilities include tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s hard work, and totally solitary—perfect to hide away from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, the quiet solitude he’s so desperately sought is suddenly at risk.

More bears are killed on the preserve and Rice’s obsession with catching the poachers escalates, leading to hostile altercations with the locals and attention from both the law and Rice’s employers. Partnering with his predecessor, a scientist who hopes to continue her research on the preserve, Rice puts into motion a plan that could expose the poachers but risks revealing his own whereabouts to the dangerous people he was running from in the first place.

James McLaughlin expertly brings the beauty and danger of Appalachia to life. The result is an elemental, slow burn of a novel—one that will haunt you long after you turn the final page.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062742803
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 04/16/2019
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 124,400
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

James A. McLaughlin holds law and MFA degrees from the University of Virginia. His fiction and essays have appeared in The Missouri Review, The Portland Review, River Teeth, and elsewhere. He grew up in rural Virginia and lives in the Wasatch Range east of Salt Lake City, Utah.

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Bearskin 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 21 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For some reason, I thought this was going to be one of those wilderness horror books with a mere man threatened by a relentless, unkillable bear. Instead I got a poetically gritty paean to an Appalachian mountaintop reserve and the truism that a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do, but sometimes at a cost incalculably high. If you mix Box's quietly inexorable Joe Pickett with Krueger's self-destructive yet effective Cork O'Connor, and throw in the danger of a quiet man with nothing left to lose as personified by Leonard's Vincent Majestyk and give the resulting character multiple enemies, you'll get a taste of this debut novel. Add bears, dogs, hallucinatory visions, and anthropomorphic Nature, and you get one heck of a story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book in three sittings. Great storyline and characters. I was definitely in Rice's head. Give it a four year and a half.
Nikchev 3 months ago
I’m giving it a two just to give it the benefit of the doubt, because I didn’t read the whole thing. It’s super slow to get started. I finally succumbed to the boredom and gave up two pages into chapter nine. It sounded really interesting, just took way to long to get there.
Anonymous 11 months ago
An+exciting+read+that+transitions+smoothly+from+present+to+past+and+back+again%3B+allowing+us+to+feel+the+surreal+and+the+raw+right+along+with+Rice.%0AI%27d+like+to+read+a+follow+up+book+from+the+perspective+of+the+mushroom+hunter.++What+a+mysterious+character%21
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow...+I+love+this+novel+but+I+think+the+writing+hypnotized+me.++It+has+action+and+internal+stuff+%28sorry%2C+a+technical+term%29+in+a++way+that+works+well+to+keep+the+story+moving+forward+and+intensifying.+The+characters+are+as+real+and+compelling+as+is%28%3F%29+the+natural%2C+wild%2C+outdoor+setting.+%28The+people+are+also+wild+in+different%2C+unpredictable+ways.%29++Many+passages+are+so+lyrical%2C+often+deep%2C+always+clear+and+significant.++This+author+has+decades+of+increasingly+skillful+writing+and+learning%2C++and+it+shows%21++Thanks+for+the+great+adventure+and+
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fun read, good creative writing regarding the landscape. Predictable story line, bikers, drugs, secrets and the”girl.” Fun, pretty simple, enjoyable.
norway_girl More than 1 year ago
Don't miss this book!!! James A. McLauglin's debut novel is one of the best books I've read in a long while. It will please most readers with wonderful suspense, action, and thrills. The characters are described so that you would recognize them if you were to meet them on the street in a crowd. But most remarkable is the main setting... a private, remote forest preserve in the mountains of Virginia. It had to be where the author grew up because you are enveloped in this forest with paragraphs and pages so lovingly written as to be the perfect balance between poetry and prose. He knows these woods. I never wanted to put this book down, and would have read it in one sitting, cover to cover, if normal life didn't keep interrupting my reading time. Read the other reviews if you are interested in the finding out about the premise and plot development...dangerous things lurk, proceed with caution! Truly, I cannot wait for the next book by this author. A sequel would be super!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Such an exciting debut for McLaughlin. A captivating story that had several well-developed characters. A great, quick read for anyone who is looking for an action/thriller. Would love to see a sequel come out because the main character, Rice, was so intriguing to me!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thought it was a great read. Made me want to keep reading to see what happens next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great+read%2C+from+Salt+Lake.%0A
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an easy. I enjoyed the story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this book very much.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I dont think I took a breath those last 80 pages or so. What an interesting book. The protagonist was intriguing, both scary and occult and sympathetic. The setting, the beautiful isolation was unsettling and very much a character in the story arc. The book shows years of careful crafting as each word is absolutely poetic. Please work faster on your next project Mr. McLaughlin. I cant wait!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I wanted to like this book more. That said it was an interesting story with some well developed characters.
Sandy5 More than 1 year ago
4.5 stars Rice takes his job seriously. He’s taken the assignment of being the caretaker of the Turk Mountain Preserve for the isolation and the security that he hopes he will find up in the mountain ranges. He’s content doing physical labor and making his rounds, until a mushroom hunter finds his way onto the property. This hunter shows Rice the remains of the bear. Killed illegally on the protected property, Rice sets off on a mission to find the individual(s) responsible for this criminal act. Rice is an outsider to the area and he soon realizes, that he’s not welcomed nor will the locals willing give up information to help him out. It’s not just him either, the previous caretaker’s experienced problems also. As Rice tracks down these illegal hunters, his efforts get mingled with his past and Rice takes to the great outdoors. I enjoyed the author’s writing, I felt as if I was in the mountains with the brush and the terrain right in front of me. It was entertaining when Rice was living outdoors, with mixed emotions I read, as Rice experienced a variety of incidents. When Rice put on his undercover suit, I had to laugh but boy, he knew his stuff and he blended right in. This was a great novel, sometimes taking on a relaxed feeling as Rice got a feel for the world around him and other times it was exciting as individuals started to invade his space. I enjoyed it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
gloriafeit More than 1 year ago
From the publisher: Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s taken a job as a caretaker for a remote forest preserve in Virginia, tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s totally solitary - - perfect to hide from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, his quiet life is upended. Rice becomes obsessed with catching the poachers before more bears are harmed. Partnering with his predecessor, a scientist who hopes to continue her research on the preserve, Rice puts into motion a plan to stop the bear killings, but it ultimately leads to hostile altercations with the locals, the law, and even his own employers. His past is catching up to him in dangerous ways and he may not be able to outrun it for much longer. The underlying plot line has to do with the killing of bears so that their galls and paws may be harvested and sold to what apparently is a steady demand by drug cartels’ clients. Rick Morton is using the name of Rice Moore so his real identity could not be tracked by those trying to find and kill him, apparently not a short list, headed by a Mexican drug gang against whom he had testified a year prior. (He already apparently had a glass kneecap.) I was amused when he introduces himself to someone using a name he had picked from the phone book “because he didn’t want to use his real fake name.” The owners of a cabin Rice is working on wanted to turn the cabin into a guest house for scientists. The people from whom he is hiding are not to be trifled with. One man they were hunting had his face skinned, then sewed back on, just to “prove they could do whatever they wanted.” A woman with whom Rice is very close had been kidnapped and then raped. As Turk Mountain Preserve Caretaker, Rice, who was born in New Mexico and grew up mostly in Tucson, is a target whose capture is always a threat. Rice is “intrigued by the concept of bear culture,” leading to the reader doing likewise. Much of this is fascinating stuff, I have to say (although it may not seem that way at first blush). Recommended.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
From the publisher: Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s taken a job as a caretaker for a remote forest preserve in Virginia, tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s totally solitary - - perfect to hide from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, his quiet life is upended. Rice becomes obsessed with catching the poachers before more bears are harmed. Partnering with his predecessor, a scientist who hopes to continue her research on the preserve, Rice puts into motion a plan to stop the bear killings, but it ultimately leads to hostile altercations with the locals, the law, and even his own employers. His past is catching up to him in dangerous ways and he may not be able to outrun it for much longer. The underlying plot line has to do with the killing of bears so that their galls and paws may be harvested and sold to what apparently is a steady demand by drug cartels’ clients. Rick Morton is using the name of Rice Moore so his real identity could not be tracked by those trying to find and kill him, apparently not a short list, headed by a Mexican drug gang against whom he had testified a year prior. (He already apparently had a glass kneecap.) I was amused when he introduces himself to someone using a name he had picked from the phone book “because he didn’t want to use his real fake name.” The owners of a cabin Rice is working on wanted to turn the cabin into a guest house for scientists. The people from whom he is hiding are not to be trifled with. One man they were hunting had his face skinned, then sewed back on, just to “prove they could do whatever they wanted.” A woman with whom Rice is very close had been kidnapped and then raped. As Turk Mountain Preserve Caretaker, Rice, who was born in New Mexico and grew up mostly in Tucson, is a target whose capture is always a threat. Rice is “intrigued by the concept of bear culture,” leading to the reader doing likewise. Much of this is fascinating stuff, I have to say (although it may not seem that way at first blush). Recommended.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
From the publisher: Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s taken a job as a caretaker for a remote forest preserve in Virginia, tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s totally solitary - - perfect to hide from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, his quiet life is upended. Rice becomes obsessed with catching the poachers before more bears are harmed. Partnering with his predecessor, a scientist who hopes to continue her research on the preserve, Rice puts into motion a plan to stop the bear killings, but it ultimately leads to hostile altercations with the locals, the law, and even his own employers. His past is catching up to him in dangerous ways and he may not be able to outrun it for much longer. The underlying plot line has to do with the killing of bears so that their galls and paws may be harvested and sold to what apparently is a steady demand by drug cartels’ clients. Rick Morton is using the name of Rice Moore so his real identity could not be tracked by those trying to find and kill him, apparently not a short list, headed by a Mexican drug gang against whom he had testified a year prior. (He already apparently had a glass kneecap.) I was amused when he introduces himself to someone using a name he had picked from the phone book “because he didn’t want to use his real fake name.” The owners of a cabin Rice is working on wanted to turn the cabin into a guest house for scientists. The people from whom he is hiding are not to be trifled with. One man they were hunting had his face skinned, then sewed back on, just to “prove they could do whatever they wanted.” A woman with whom Rice is very close had been kidnapped and then raped. As Turk Mountain Preserve Caretaker, Rice, who was born in New Mexico and grew up mostly in Tucson, is a target whose capture is always a threat. Rice is “intrigued by the concept of bear culture,” leading to the reader doing likewise. Much of this is fascinating stuff, I have to say (although it may not seem that way at first blush). Recommended.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
not good