Heller has shifted from the meditative, almost poetic tone of his first couple books to out-and-out thrillers that are set in beautiful places where people do stupid things to mess them up ... Last Ranger doesn't have the narrative momentum of The River or his last one, The Guide ... Has the feel of a series launch but if it is, Heller will need to interrogate the motives of Ren, whose split-second decisionmaking turns him into a vigilante in a way that the book doesn't acknowledge.
Heller’s style...is Hemingway with the machismo scoured out of it ... Can get convoluted ... The propulsiveness of the story sometimes overheats the prose ... And Heller is so determined to avoid easy heroes-and-villains storytelling that the novel closes with some facile both-sidesism, as if prey were better off understanding the nature of their predators.
Heller writes in lean, descriptive, contemplative prose that often reflects a spirit of solitude ... The thrills of The Last Ranger lean to the quiet side, but they should resonate with any thoughtful reader who considers the human relationship to the world that was here before we arrived, and, hopefully, will be here after we shuffle off this mortal coil.
An immersive story ... Though the plot is fairly thin, Heller compensates with strong characterizations, a vivid sense of place, enough wolf lore to fill several NatGeo specials, and a Boy Scout Handbook’s worth of wood-crafting tips. Fans of fiction about the outdoors are well served.
Fast-paced, elegantly written ... As the author displays in a thrilling climactic chase scene, he doesn’t neglect his obligation to bring what at heart is a nature adventure story to a satisfying conclusion ... Lyrical.