Format: E-Galley | 352 pages
Release Date: July 5, 2016
Genre: Psychological | Thriller
True Grit meets The Road in this post-apocalyptic psychological thriller--narrated by a young girl who has just learned that her adopted father may be a serial killer and that she may be his next victim.
In the remote wilds of a ravaged land, Elka has been raised by a man who isn't her father. Since finding her wandering in the woods when she was seven, he has taught her how to hunt, shoot, set snares and start fires--everything she needs to survive. All she knows of the world outside is gleaned from whispers of a cataclysmic event that turned the clock back on civilization by a hundred and fifty years and reduced governments and technology to shambles, leaving men at the mercy of the elements--and each other.
Everything changes when Elka learns that the man she has been calling father is harboring a terrible secret. Armed with nothing but her knife and her wiles, she decides to escape his clutches and sets out on a long journey to the frozen north in the hope of finding her long-lost parents.
But as the trail of blood and bodies grows in her path, Elka realizes that daddy won't be letting his little girl go without a fight. If she's going to survive, she'll have to turn and confront not just him, but the truth about what he's turned her into.
THE WOLF ROAD is the debut novel from author Beth Lewis. The story focuses on the life and times of Elka, who can't remember what her birth name was after her parents took off and left her behind with her Nana. When she was just seven years old, a dangerous thunderhead came tearing through her home of Ridgeway and tossed her miles away. She stumbled across a man in the wild she called Trapper. He took her in and taught her everything she needed to know in order to survive the world post-Damn Stupid and the Second Conflict. (FYI, that is what the author is calling the apparent war between Russia and North America.)
Ten years later, Elka learns a terrible secret about the man she's been calling Daddy. He's a killer. A monster, and if she doesn't get out of there quickly, she may end up dead. After meeting face to face with the Magistrate Lyon, Elka goes on the run hoping to catch up with the parents that left her behind to dig up that yellow dust in the frozen north. Along the way, Elka looks back on the years she spent with Trapper, and things start to make more and more sense as she travels across the great white north. Elka also realizes that no matter how far away she gets from home, she can't get far enough away from Trapper who is playing a cat and mouse game with her while leaving more bodies behind.
Elka speaks in a western dialect along the lines of being from a John Wayne Western. She has no formal education. She can't read or write, but she is familiar at how to survive in brutal conditions while facing everything from thunderheads, to wolf packs, to toxic lakes, to men wanting to sell women as prostitutes, and those who take advantage of travelers to the north looking for a quick buck. Elka also makes a friend along the way in Penelope who she saves from prostitution. Elka and Penelope are totally different. One is hard on the outside, the other is soft. Elka has been taught how to survive. Penelope has been taught the ways of those with means and opportunities.
Their differences is, what makes their eventual friendship that much more to likable, and that much more of a heartbreak when you realize that Elka has to face a much harsher reality. Both Elka and Penelope have had to make choices that have crafted them into the people they end up being when all is said and done. While Elka eventually comes to understand what role she played in Trapper's past trail of murder, Penelope tries to find her own way by making friendship and moving past her own misdeeds that lead to her meeting Elka.
THE WOLF ROAD is an intriguing story that doesn't let up on its intensity or brutality. THE WOLF ROAD begins with a confrontation between Elka and Kreagar Hallet, and ends with Elka being forced into making yet another hard choice. Lewis does a fantastic job of giving the reader the feeling of pensiveness and the possibility that Elka is being hunted like one of the rabbits she likes to snare.
And just because.....
Smell a' bacon. Ain't nothing in this world like it. Salt-cured, sliced thick, line a' juicy fat crisping up in the pan. Anyone what tells you they don't like bacon is either stupid or lying. Either way that ain't no one you can trust.
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