Title: The Wolf Road
Author: Beth Lewis
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publication Date: June 30, 2016
Genre: Thriller, Suspense
Rating: 4/5 "I Liked It"
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I received an ARC of this novel from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.
Description from GoodReads
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.
When most of the girls in my class turned nine, they either ignored reading all together or chose Nancy Drew books. I, on the contrary, headed straight for Stephen King. When Beth Lewis was described to me as very similar to Stephen King, I could not resist the chance to review it. I am still stunned. Let me tell you why.
First, Beth Lewis knows how to make her readers fall in love with her characters. Elka is so realistic that you feel all of the pain that she goes through. You genuinely WANT to see something amazing happen for her. You cheer her on. You feel her triumphs as wonderfully as she does. And, you feel her defeat and devastation slap you upside the head with a million bricks right along with her. For a long time, I was pretty angry about the way that Lewis handles this. After all, most audiences want to see something good happen to the main character. HOWEVER, now that I've finished it, Lewis was completely right to do so. It adds to the suspense and the pain of the conclusion in a way that could not have been done had she approached characterization from any other angle.
Second, Lewis masterfully grosses out her audience. YUCK. I love Stephen King, as previously stated, but you expect gore, cannibalism, and much more from him. While I expected some of these things from Lewis, I did not expect her to take them to the extreme that she does. It's wonderful, but yet cringe-worthy. I'll be honest, I cringed aloud when I found the twist.
If I could, I would only rate this novel on the above criteria. I would give her a 4/5 and be on my merry way. But, I promised an honest review. Here is how The Wolf Road lost its point and received a 3.
This book is beyond confusing. Yes, the author wants to make the audience feel as confused as Elka feels. Yes, this is a suspense/thriller and in this particular genre, it is OK to slowly eek out details to your audience. I felt that I spent way too much time trying to figure out what the heck Lewis was trying to hint at. I knew that she was trying to encourage me to make predictions, but I wasn't sure what information I was supposed to use to do so. I wasn't even sure if I had all of the information required to make the necessary predictions.
Even though The Wolf Road lost one point for being mildly confusing, I look forward to reading Lewis' future work. I am sure that this is one author whose style we will see develop and grow into something amazing over time.
About the Author
Beth Lewis is a managing editor at Titan Books in London. She was raised in the wilds of Cornwall and split her childhood between books and the beach. She has traveled extensively throughout the world and has had close encounters with black bears, killer whales, and great white sharks. She has been a bank cashier, a fire performer, and a juggler.