Much as natural beauty can mask predator/prey violence, McLaughlin's lush descriptions of the native flora and fauna of Moore's mountain domain, the 'fecund riot of chest-high bluestem and orchard grass,' seductively create what could be a setting out of Elizabeth Gilbert's The Signature of All Things ... An extraordinary first novel of powerful prose, Bearskin captures the blurry line between studying primordial nature and being a part of it.
Part thriller, part crime novel, part dreamscape, James A. McLaughlin’s Bearskin refuses to be contained ... Smart and sophisticated, with animals both wild and domestic acting as metaphors, Bearskin is a gritty, down-home tale told with brute force. Rice is a memorable, reluctant hero for both his community and the animals in his charge.
The landscape is rendered in remarkable prose that puts the reader right out on the trail with Moore in his ghillie suit, often lost in a Castaneda-like rapture that contrasts sharply with intermittent bursts of stunning brutality. C. J. Box and Paul Doiron fans will enjoy this edgy tale, with human greed and wildlife exploitation at its heart.