James A McLaughlin
WINNER OF THE 2019 EDGAR FOR BEST FIRST NOVEL
“Bearskin is visceral, raw, and compelling-filled with sights, smells, and sounds truly observed. It’s a powerful debut and an absolute showcase of exceptional prose. There are very few first novels when I feel compelled to circle brilliant passages, but James McLaughlin’s writing had me doing just that.” -C.J. Box, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Disappeared
Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s found a job protecting a remote forest preserve in Virginian Appalachia where his main responsibilities include tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s hard work, and totally solitary-perfect to hide away from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, the quiet solitude he’s so desperately sought is suddenly at risk.
More bears are killed on the preserve and Rice’s obsession with catching the poachers escalates, leading to hostile altercations with the locals and attention from both the law and Rice’s employers. Partnering with his predecessor, a scientist who hopes to continue her research on the preserve, Rice puts into motion a plan that could expose the poachers but risks revealing his own whereabouts to the dangerous people he was running from in the first place.
James McLaughlin expertly brings the beauty and danger of Appalachia to life. The result is an elemental, slow burn of a novel-one that will haunt you long after you turn the final page.
"One of the year's most buzzy, fascinating thrillers. . . . A suspenseful, emotionally resonant journey into one man's dark past." -- Entertainment Weekly "A journey into the wilds of Appalachia. . . . Tightly plotted and beautifully written, Bearskin marks an auspicious debut." -- Nylon Magazine "Bearskin-a gripping tale written in spare, beautiful prose-tells the tale of Rice Moore, a reluctant hero, competent, resilient, and utterly engaging. McLaughlin is a gifted storyteller, and Bearskin is a remarkable debut." -- Scott Smith, NYT Bestselling author of A Simple Plan and The Ruins "Bearskin is visceral, raw, and compelling-filled with sights, smells, and sounds truly observed. It's a powerful debut and an absolute showcase of exceptional prose. There are very few first novels when I feel compelled to circle brilliant passages, but James McLaughlin's writing had me doing just that." -- C.J. Box, #1 NYT bestselling author of The Disappeared "A secret past, old foes, bloodthirsty locals, and the destruction of the natural world converge in McLaughlin's debut novel. An intricately written thriller that explores the darkest parts of human nature against the beauty of unspoiled American wilds." -- Ace Atkins, New York Times bestselling author of Robert B. Parker's Old Black Magic and The Sinners "At once brutal and beautiful, Bearskin is a tense, haunting thriller brought to life by McLaughlin's deft and vivid rendering of the rugged mountain landscape and the beasts that dwell within. A powerful debut." -- Laura McHugh, author of The Weight of Blood and Arrowood
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