If a book is supposed to transport you to a foreign land, Diane Les Becquets wonderful debut novel, Breaking Wild (February 2016), took this east coast, nature-fearing reviewer to the wilderness of Western Colorado in a heart-pounding life and death literary thriller that had me searching the ground for cougar scat and checking the batteries in my flashlights.
Told in alternating points of view, we follow Amy Raye Latour through the rugged terrain of Mesa County for a day of elk hunting with her bow and arrow until a storm moves in and she becomes lost. When she does not return as expected, the dedicated folks of search and rescue are called in and that means Pru Hathaway.
What follows next is a mix of Cheryl Strayed’s Wild and Aron Ralston’s 127 Hours, the determination of Amy Raye to survive and Pru Hathaway’s dogged pursuit of her or her remains. Pru digs deep into Amy Raye’s life for clues. Is this just an average day out hunting or something more? A suicide attempt? A murder? An accident? And then there’s that cougar that’s been spotted searching for food.
Amy Raye and Pru are two fiercely independent women pushing themselves to extremes, struggling with their past and their fears, and learning what they are ultimately capable of achieving.
A bow hunter herself, Les Becquets knows these lands well. She educates us with vivid detail of both place and process. It had me racing to the end of the book, hoping for a happy ending but prepared for something worse. The author of three young adult novels, this is Les Becquet’s first aimed at an adult audience. It is highly recommended for readers of fiction, intelligent thrillers, and literary fiction.
Reviewed by Carol Malkin
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