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Little Wolves Hardcover – January 8, 2013


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Soho Press (January 8, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1616951907
  • ISBN-13: 978-1616951900
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 5.5 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (102 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #177,076 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2013: What a moody, brooding, and myth-soaked thriller. It’s as if Maltman dropped '50s-era Raymond Chandler characters onto the drought-wracked prairies of 1980s Minnesota, and the translation works really well. In the opening pages, Grizz Fallon learns that his son has killed the sheriff and himself, while the new pastor’s wife stews over her uneasy return to her former hometown and her strange, brief friendship with Fallon’s troubled son. Haunting and gothic, with spooky hints of mythology and the supernatural, this is more than a gritty small-town murder story. Like the best of Cormac McCarthy, Little Wolves is a deeply moving exploration of the nature of violence and the secret selves we all strive to keep hidden. --Neal Thompson

From Booklist

This thought-provoking novel, set in the isolated town of Lone Mountain, Minnesota, explores the roots of violence in disturbing fashion. After teenage Seth Fallon shoots Sheriff Will Gunderson to death and then turns the gun on himself, Seth’s father, Grizz, is laid low by his grief. He is especially troubled that the local Lutheran church has a separate section in the cemetery for suicides. Seth’s English teacher, Clara Warren, married to the Lutheran minister, had refused to answer the door the day Seth came by, right before his fateful confrontation with the sheriff, and now feels haunted by his ghost as well as the stories her father told her when she was young, stories of a child raised by wolves. Now pregnant with her first child, Clara feels that she is slowly losing it as she begins to think that she may now be living in the town where her mother, in the throes of postpartum depression, died during a snowstorm. In gorgeous prose, Maltman conjures both the irrational suspicion and the heartwarming connections forged in a small town during times of trauma. --Joanne Wilkinson

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Amelia Gremelspacher TOP 500 REVIEWER on January 9, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
While this story starts with a single shooting and a subsequent suicide, I do not think it is the center of the book. More to the point are the forces driving Seth, of which the shooting is the culmination.

The writing is haunting and transporting. In the language that Maltman uses, I am transported to country that I otherwise know very little about. The mountain, unseen for much of the narrative, looms over the country landscape. The town hunkers down in a seemingly doomed quest to survive. But the book is not all about setting. The plot compels the story onward constantly. There is always more to understand.

I can picture Seth, the young shooter vividly. His father in despair is drawn deeply. How does a father go on after a child has killed another person and then shot himself? I have often thought of this horrible place when stories present themselves to the news. This man is deeply caring, unused to expressing private thoughts, and haunted. Finally the pastor's young pregnant wife who has been drawn to the town by the death of her mother there just after her birth. She records the stories that her father has told her of the mountain, yet he has never told her her mother's name. And who was Will, the victim, highly respected and highly feared? The culmination of the forces of these characters is relentless, without melodrama, but full of emotion. This is a book that restores the pleasure of reading the language.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Susan K. Schoonover VINE VOICE on January 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover
LITTLE WOLVES is a theme rich thriller that though well written doesn't quite meet the author's seeming aspirations. The novel takes place in a small German farming community dubbed Lone Mountain, Minnesota in the 1980's. The reader discovers the area through the eyes of Clara the pregnant wife of the new Lutheran minister who with her husband moves there from the Twin Cities. Clara a scholar of early Anglo-Saxon literature finds unexpected success as a long term substitute English teacher at the local high school. She had been eager to relocate to the isolated community in part because she believes Lone Mountain may be the town where her mother died in a mysterious tragedy when she was a baby. This same incident left Clara herself with fingers amputated because of frostbite. This injury still makes her readily recognizable to many of the local inhabitants. Clara has also been left with many questions about her mother's life and death that her now deceased father always refused to answer.

Clara's story intersects with that of Grizz a local farmer whose family has long been given roles as community scapegoats. Grizz led a sad life that becomes even more tragic when his only child Seth, one of Clara's high school students, commits a sudden murder and then kills himself. Clara is drawn in to these sad events as a favorite teacher of Seth's as is her husband who is the local pastor to both the murder victim and the suicide.

The first part of the book where the mysteries are set up is by far the best as the climax of the book deteriorates when the author uses a well worn heroine kidnapped by evil plot device. Author Thomas Maltman does do a great job of creating a vivid sense of place and fully developed memorable characters. However I was left with the feeling that the book could have been so much more than it is if the author had abandoned some of the thriller conventions and concentrated more on the literary.
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19 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Pasiphae on December 28, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A young person commits a seemingly random gun crime, and a town wonders why. In unearthing the causes, something far older and more disturbing is unearthed, as a town has turned a blind eye to savage doings for far too long. Grizz Fallon is the parent we all fear being, the man who had no idea what was going on with his son. He searches for answers while accepting the scorn of his small town for having produced a monster. This story is hard to take, especially now.

As a fan of more literary fiction, I ordered this book because it promised a thriller haunted by poetry and mythology. I really couldn't wait. And the book delivers that, as one of the main characters is a highly educated (if not degreed) scholar. Clara's sleepwalk of a pregnancy is good reading, her strange legend tales compelling, and her background in myth is impeccable.

Here's the trouble: I fear the parts of the book that intrigued me the most will be the parts of the book that turn off many readers; the elaborate plotting, the endless literary allusions, the intricate interior monologues. What can I say? I love that stuff. When the plot really got to cooking, it lost me. That's probably where most thriller readers will be relieved!

It is hard to read books like this right now (December 2012). We are all seeking answers as to what's going on out there with angry young men and guns. A novel like this one or Empire Falls can only give us a novelist's imagining of what's gone wrong. Let's hope we find more than just our stories to give us answers.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Schuyler T Wallace VINE VOICE on December 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Thomas Maltman has presented a complicated and dark novel in LITTLE WOLVES. The many tragic elements he presents have been pressed together much like a multilayered cake with analogous ingredients. The resulting flavors are too similar to be intriguing. The result, for me, is unexciting and hard to digest.

One thing should be affirmed from the start. Maltman is a talented writer. His themes and characters are innovative and captivating. His writing is superb. He can set a scene with some of the best authors of today. His final product is illusionary and of wide perspective, almost dreamlike in its effect on the reader. The landscape is vast and empty, almost Daliesque, but much darker.

I'm not sure it works. As a reader I pushed on, trying to pull everything together into an experience I would care for and remember. I mention Dali, the surrealist painter. He too spread many elements through vast, open spaces; each perfectly rendered but eerily altered, as he created a final work that defied explanation. I feel that way about Maltman's book.

The symbolism gets lost at times and wanders away from the story and I'm not sure there are any likeable characters. Most seem terribly disturbed and unable to cope with the reality of life. And the realities of life as presented by the author are almost too difficult to accept as being realistic. The story is intriguing but somehow too bleak.

I would recommend this book for the analytical reader, someone who is searching for symbolism and how it enters and affects our lives. There are many readers who live for that experience but, unfortunately, I'm not one of them. My apologies to Mr. Maltman.

Schuyler T Wallace
Author of TIN LIZARD TALES
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