Breaking Wild, by Diane Les Becquets ... Amy Raye is a wife, a mother, a stepmother, and a hunter. She also has a past that includes cousins and the games kids too often play long before they know what they’re doing. At the start of the novel, she’s about to go after an Elk with a crossbow solo. She’d gone hunting with two men, but they’d already hunted their quota. Neither would encourage her to go on her own, but Amy Raye is determined and more than adept at handling her business. She slips out early in the morning and by end of day is lost.
Pru is the other woman in this fascinating and dramatic page turner. She’s a single parent, her son a high school football player. She works for the Bureau of Land Management as an archeological law enforcement ranger, but she’s also adept at the search and rescue missions she’s often called upon to engage in when hunters or hikers lose their way.
The backstories are dramatic and poignant. The author uses alternating points of view throughout the novel. Pru’s story is told first person, Amy Raye’s story comes to us third person. It’s an effective way to heighten the tension as the drama unfolds a piece of information at a time. What Amy Raye does to try to survive the brutal Colorado winter weather, including snow storms, is countered with the search and rescue operation we feel we’re on alongside Pru.
There’s also the personal lives of these two women. One includes an addiction that more than tests the bonds of her marriage and is revealed to her husband and others in the most humiliating manner. There’s been heartbreak in both Amy Raye and Pru’s lives, and yet their strength of character is revealed through a resilience most often found in the hearts of warriors.
And there’s no shortage of danger. Whatever one can imagine might happen to someone lost in a winter wilderness, to include wild animals (bears, mountain lions, cougars, to name a few), there’s also the weather, which is often relentless. Amy Raye is tenacious in her attempts to survive and see her family again. Pru is equal to the task, most often because she’s haunted by what might have happened to Amy Raye, as well as the lack of closure her family may have to accept.
And there are well-plotted ironic twists that leave us frustrated when we see what Amy Raye does with some of her equipment and how her actions are interpreted by the rescue operation. It is classic drama, the kind where you find yourself thinking, “No, no! That’s not what happened!”
Some comparisons to Bonnie Jo Campbell’s works were obvious to me. All I know is that this novel was a hell of a read, amici. I doubt they’ll be another before Bernie’s inauguration in 2017 to best it.
VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
I am not a hunter, nor do I have a clue about what one does when lost in the wilderness, but I learned quite a bit from this novel, and whenever I learn something from a read, well, it’s a very welcomed bonus. Breaking Wild has already received three *STARRED* reviews (Kirkus, Booklist and Publishers Weekly) and is an Indie Next Pick for February. NPR's Morning Edition is going to be interviewing the author around the time of publication. Pretty cool and impressive, yous ask me.
“Les Becquets pens her first novel for adults, with stellar results….a taut and thrilling narrative….with fascinating details about hunting, the logistics of search-and-rescue, and the beauty and danger of the wilderness.” — Booklist (starred)
“. . . Another obvious achievement of the novel is the writing; Les Becquets' prose is as spare, haunting, and nuanced as the wild landscape she brings to life…. It is the human capacity for endurance that is celebrated here, the capacity for friendship, for love, for loyalty, and for living against the odds. A transcendent, breathless exploration of the darkest depths of loneliness and the unbreakable human spirit.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred)
“This is a powerful story of survival, wilderness field craft, and fractured relationships packed into a suspenseful plot with more than a few surprises….After three young adult novels, Les Becquets scores big with this very adult thriller about two women facing life and death challenges in western Colorado’s rugged wilderness.” — Publishers Weekly (starred)
The Great Storm … well, frankly, so long as the power remains on and I can type, it’s pretty neat. Me, I always liked the cold … and the snow … it’s the New England Cheatriots I can’t stand … nor do I care for the New York Strangers, Skankies, the Boston Brunettes and/or what’s become of the NFL. I made sure I had a good and strong workout Thursday, so I’m fine until next Tuesday or Wednesday with the gym. We’re well stocked with grub and my wifey is kind of cornered over the next 24 hours (making me the last man on earth--this could get interesting).
The great ambush … well, it looks as though the Time Warner owned Clinton News Network has arranged yet another Hillary-supporters-packed house for the so-called Town Hall come Monday night. There was a rumor that the new chair of Iowa’s DNC would be one of the moderators, but that’s supposedly just a rumor. We shall see.
Now, is CNN will hosting the event because the DNC was pressured into something close to one more debate? Well, no, not really. CNN will host the event because Hillary’s numbers are down in Iowa and this will give her one more opportunity to spew some more lies about Bernie’s platform, although it’s still unclear whether she will attempt to paint him as the “establishment candidate” or the “socialist.”
What will it take to make this woman go away for good? An FBI indictment might help, although somehow I foresee an El Chappo-like bustout, except Hillary would probably use a window and her broom instead of a tunnel and a motorcycle.
GO BERNIE, GO!
The GREATEST political ad ever …