The Wolf Road
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Elka barely remembers a time before she knew Trapper.
She was just seven years old, wandering lost and hungry in the wilderness, when the solitary hunter took her in. In the years since then, he’s taught her how to survive in this desolate land where civilization has been destroyed and men are at the mercy of the elements and each other.
But the man Elka thought she knew has been harboring a terrible secret. He’s a killer. A monster. And now that Elka knows the truth, she may be his next victim.
Armed with nothing but her knife and the hard lessons Trapper’s drilled into her, Elka flees into the frozen north in search of her real parents. But judging by the trail of blood dogging her footsteps, she hasn’t left Trapper behind—and he won’t be letting his little girl go without a fight. If she’s going to survive, Elka will have to turn and confront not just him, but the truth about the dark road she’s been set on.
The Wolf Road is an intimate cat-and-mouse tale of revenge and redemption, played out against a vast, unforgiving landscape—told by an indomitable young heroine fighting to escape her past and rejoin humanity.
From Publishers Weekly
© Publishers Weekly
Post-apocalyptic Psychological Thriller
I would like to thank Crown Publishers & LibraryThing's Early Reviewer Program for a copy of this ARC to review. Though I received this book for free, that has no impact upon the honesty of my review.
Goodreads Teaser: "A debut literary thriller from an incredible new voice. What do you do when the man who gave you everything turns out to be a killer?
Everything Elka knows of the world she learned from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her under his wing when she was just seven years old.
But when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka.
Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past."
This book most certainly delivers when it comes to the pure psychological hook. It will wind it's way into your mind, popping up at odd and unexpected times as you try to figure out what's coming next. Elka is a strong, but seriously flawed, protagonist. I started out not caring much about her one way or the other, and found that by the end I'd formed a connection of sorts, caring what happened to her - both internally and externally.
Seeing the story through Elka's eyes is intriguing, as she begins at a fairly young age and, though young by the end, she's certainly no longer an innocent child. Then again, maybe she never was one. The difference between the two most powerful relationships in her life is striking, yet also bear some strong similarities. Her need for love is overpowering, and the lengths she'll go to in order to obtain it, shocking.
Trapper, a.k.a. Hallet, is actually compartmentalized in Elka's mind. Watching how her mind handles the discovery of Hallet's own truth is rather like sitting in one a Psych. course in school, but more vivid and chock-full of rich detail. Then we have Penelope, who steps into Elka's life at a most unexpected, and inconvenient time, yet still manages to have huge impact upon her. To be fair, Elka has enormous impact upon Penelope too.
The most challenging part of this book for me is the way Elka speaks and thinks, and as the entire book is told from her point of view. It's crystal clear from the get go that she lacks any form of education, but it's much more than that. It's like deciphering a foreign language that's loosely related to your native tongue. I've yet to discover many authors that can get away with such a deliberate use of mangled English, yet Lewis turns in a very credible performance. It's a bold choice for a debut, and one she pulls off.
Elka is a very well-written leading lady, and though it's difficult to think of equating her to other leading ladies, she's actually similar in many ways. I can happily say that this is a book to read on the beach, curled up by a roaring fire, camping in the mountains - essentially anywhere. You'll quickly find yourself gripped by the story, once you learn the cadence of Elka's speech. If you're anticipating a simple psychological thriller,don't be surprised if you get far more than expected.