...[an] electrifying debut ... Fridlund refuses to obey the conventions that her sometimes hidebound colleagues do, and her novel is so much the better for it ... History of Wolves isn't a typical thriller any more than it's a typical coming-of-age novel; Fridlund does a remarkable job transcending genres without sacrificing the suspense that builds steadily in the book ... History of Wolves is as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set, and with her first book, Fridlund has already proven herself to be a singular talent.
The author’s deft use of foreshadowing hints at some impending tragedy over the horizon ... the tension between what Linda hopes to have with them and the facts as they emerge is expertly handled by Fridlund, who builds a palpable sense of dread through flashbacks and foreshadowing ... the chilly power of History of Wolves packs a wallop that’s hard to shake off. In the process, Fridlund has constructed an elegant, troubling debut, both immersed in the natural world but equally concerned with issues of power, family, faith and the gap between understanding something and being able to act on the knowledge.
...here is the danger in withholding crucial information from your readers for so long: Eventually they expect their uncertainty to be rewarded, preferably with interest. This does not happen in History of Wolves, as promisingly as it starts out. I sensed where Ms. Fridlund was heading before she started dropping explicit clues, and even if I hadn’t, I suspect I’d have been underwhelmed. Those thunderheads massing on the horizon let loose only a weak drizzle ... History of Wolves contains the kernels of many possible novels, with lots of larger ideas to plumb...[but] all the ideas in the world can’t make a great novel. It’s what you do with them that matters.