Today’s novels range from wolf poaching to a notebook that draws people together to a war between Mother Nature and the Gods.
“Wolfman” by Stanley Trollip (White Sun Books, $13.95)
She wondered whether she was interpreting the gift properly. Whether it was from LUPUS or someone different calling himself Wolfman, it seemed she was being encouraged to shoot poachers. No matter how she twisted her mind, she couldn’t come up with any other possibility. He wanted her to take the hunt-the-hunter idea to the next level. — From “Wolfman”
Crystal Nguyen is dressed in all-white ski clothing as she flattens herself against the snow and watches the wolf poachers. When they leave their snowmobiles, she quickly throws the keys far into the snow and skies away.
Meet the protagonist of Stanley Trollip’s first solo novel and second in the series featuring Vietnamese refugee Crystal Nguyen, a woman who takes too many chances when her heart leads her somewhere.
Trollip and his friend Michael Sears, writing as Michael Stanley, wrote four Botswana-set police procedurals featuring Detective Kubu. Then they wrote a thriller about rhino poaching, “Shoot the Bastards,” that introduced Nguyen. Her background: her father kicked her out of their house after seeing her holding hands with a young man, because he wanted her to stay home and learn to be a wife and mother. Her hobby, for which she’s training in “Wolfman,” is participating in biathlons, a Nordic skiing event in which competitors combine cross-country skiing and rifle shooting.
In “Wolfman,” a prequel to “Shoot the Bastards,” Crystal is a reporter at a Duluth television station. She loves wolves and ecology in general, and she’s furious when two poachers are found not guilty and leave the courthouse smiling.
When Crystal gets untraceable messages from someone called LUPUS, she realizes she can harass the poachers because LUPUS gives her the places where they will be and the times. Although she knows she’s endangering her career, she harasses the poachers by disabling their snowmobiles and, later, setting fire to the cabin where they keep their snowmobiles and wolf pelts.
Reporting on these incidents, Crystal keeps her involvement a secret, speculating on-air that the perpetrators might be part of the hunt-the-hunter movement, or someone working alone whom she calls Wolfman.
Crystal’s Wolfman reporting goes viral and the station’s ratings skyrocket. But it also bitterly divides residents of Northern Minnesota, where hunting is a religion. She is physically threatened in a bar and she realizes she has put herself in danger. Then two poachers are shot by someone calling himself Wolfman. Now Crystal has to backtrack and urge this mysterious copycat to stop killing in the name of animals.
With help from DNA conservation officer Chuck Gustafson, to whom she’s sort-of attracted, Crystal tries to stay ahead of the men who blame her reporting for creating anti-hunter sentiment in the community.
Can she stay safe, save wolves and learn the identity of Wolfman? Before any of this happens, she becomes Wolfman’s kidnapping target.
Trollip keeps the tension high, with Crystal in almost constant danger. The chapters about her biathlon training nicely fit into the plot when she skis through the woods after the poachers.
Trollip will virtually launch “Wolfman” at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 21, presented by Once Upon a Crime. To register: crowdcast.io/e/stanley-trollip-wolfman/register.
“A Matter of Course” by Jody Wenner (Independently published, $11.99))
It was an ordinary day on the Orange Line train in the Twin Cities.
Marigold (Mari) Winter, who thinks shoes tell you everything about a person, is taking her dying mother, Zi, to the hospital. Lark Brooks is a nervous man going to an interview for a job he thinks will solve his problems. Octogenarian Norma, former head librarian at the St. Paul Public Library, writes in a little notebook vignettes of life she observes. For some reason, she gives her notebook to Lark. Jason is a 17-year-old skateboarder skipping school. Jeannine is with her useless husband, Dean, who she’s thinking of divorcing.
When the man in black motorcycle boots boards the train, talking to himself, everyone knows he’s “off.” And when he accidentally trips over Jason’s legs and falls into Norma’s tote bag, he pulls out his gun and kills Norma and Zi. (This is not a spoiler; it’s the catalyst for the rest of the story.)
The killer is Bobby Davis, a house painter who’s tired of taking orders from homeowners and his boss. His has recently found a big wad of cash on a job site, but the money has made him unhappy and paranoid.
Told in the voices of all the central characters, plus a dogged detective, the story continues as everyone who was in that Orange Line car comes together and their lives are changed. Dean, Jeannine’s depressed husband, somehow comes out of the shooting as a hero, much to his wife’s aggravation because she knows he didn’t do anything heroi.. And Lark and Mari seem to be headed for romance.
What’s wonderful about this book is its tender heart. These are such likable people, even sullen teen Jason, that the reader longs for them to be happy. And it’s not giving anything away to say that Norma’s little notebook, published by Lark and Mari, is the instrument of a perfect ending.
“A Matter of Course,” the author’s 11th book, is as good as any novel from mainstream publishers. It’s a perfect read for those who need an affirmation of humanity’s goodness in these hard days.
“All the Blues Come Through” by Metra Farrari (Wise Ink, $19.99).
Ryan is a botanist who accidentally created a species of flower that sucks up pollution, leaving the air clear. But she can’t grow them fast enough to fill orders. Then she gets an invitation from a mysterious group of scientists who live on an island off the coast of Athens.
When Ryan arrives, she discovers these are oddly-dressed people who know little about science. That’s because they aren’t scientists. They are descendants of the Gods.
That’s the premise of Metra Farrari’s debut, “All the Blues Come Through,” Book One in her Heir to a Myth series.
Once Ryan gets over her shock at seeing an entire city carved out of a mountain, she’s even more shocked to learn her hosts are demigods battling Mother Earth, who is holding the Gods hostage on a mountain and that she, Ryan, is a descendant of the goddess Artemis. The other Descendants want her to rescue the Olympians.
This mix of mythology and contemporary life (the Descendants know some modern phrases) is a lot of fun. There are centaurs, a hundred-eyed monster awakened by Ryan’s powers, and a very hunky dem-god who certainly captures Ryan’s interest. The battle is joined on top of the mountain, where Ryan confronts Mother Nature and Artemis.
Farrari is a first generation Persian American who grew up n Eagan. She was on the production team for the last three seasons of “The Oprah Winfrey Show.”h2 data-curated-ids="" data-relation-type="automatic-primary-tag"">
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Source : https://www.twincities.com/2021/09/18/readers-and-writers-wolves-war-and-words-in-a-notebook-a-look-at-three-new-novels/1689