I’m a sucker for two things when it comes to books: cat and mouse games and western frontiers. Well, three things, because I love a good revenge story as well. The Wolf Road is one of the best cat and mouse books I’ve ever read, intense from start to finish, and elegantly colloquial in a way that never feels like stuntsmanship.
It’s a simple set up. In the aftermath of a tragedy, a young girl named Elka is taken by a man who calls himself Kreager Hallett. He raises her in the hills, teaching her to make jerky, hunt, joint animals, track, and more. It’s a harsh world, a wilderness that has drawn comparisons to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, but the style, by design, is not elevated. We are given the story through the eyes of the illiterate Elka.
Elka learns, through a situation that I will not spoil for you, that Kreager is not exactly what he seems. There is a constable hunting him, one of the most pitiless pursuers I’ve encountered since The Terminator movies.
She escapes, he follows, and what comes between the beginning and the end never failed to surprised and shock me. There’s also an element to the story that I didn’t see coming, which changed the way I thought about it all. I can’t wait to see what Beth Lewis does next.