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Bearskin: A Novel Hardcover – June 12, 2018

4.3 out of 5 stars 442 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“One of the year’s most buzzy, fascinating thrillers. . . . A suspenseful, emotionally resonant journey into one man’s dark past.” — Entertainment Weekly

“Gruesomely gorgeous. . . . McLaughlin writes about the natural world with a casual lyricism and un-self-conscious joy. . . . Remarkable. . . . The kind of writing that makes me shiver.” — New York Times Book Review

“Exciting. . . . McLaughlin skillfully breaks down the actions of hunter and hunted into their constituent parts. . . . Some of the best action writing in recent fiction.” — Washington Post

“A powerful and often profound debut. . . . Bearskin constructs a riveting narrative, set within a natural world that, should it vanish, McLaughlin suggests, might take part of us with it.” — USA Today

“Fast-paced and evocative. . . . A genuine page-turner. . . . [Bearskin] emerges from some darker place, a creature of undeniable power.” — New York Journal of Books

“Part thriller, part crime novel, part dreamscape, James A. McLaughlin’s Bearskin refuses to be contained. . . . Smart and sophisticated, with animals both wild and domestic acting as metaphors, [it] is a gritty, down-home tale told with brute force.” — BookPage

“[A] near-perfect first novel. . . . [A] carefully crafted tale of mystery, ecology, backwoods mysticism and downright evil.” — Shelf Awareness

“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

“Taut as a crossbow and as sharp as an arrowhead. . . . Smoothly orchestrated. . . . A thrilling, thoroughly satisfying debut.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“[A] hard-edged thriller. . . . An intense, visceral debut equal to the best that country noir has to offer.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“[A] twisty, knuckle-gnawing thriller. . . . Remarkable. . . . Terrifying.” — Jonathan Segura, Publishers Weekly (Staff Pick—Best of Summer 2018)

“Haunting. . . . Rendered in remarkable prose. . . . [An] edgy tale, with human greed and wildlife exploitation at its heart.” — Booklist

“Explored in vivid and often dreamlike prose. . . . Successfully [straddles] the line between the evocative erudition of Gabriel Tallent’s My Absolute Darling, Tom Franklin’s Poachers, and page-turning suspense of C.J. Box.” — Library Journal

“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

From the Back Cover

Rice Moore is just beginning to think his troubles are behind him. He’s taken a job as a caretaker for a remote forest preserve in Virginia, tracking wildlife and refurbishing cabins. It’s totally solitary—perfect for hiding from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. But when Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed on the grounds, his quiet life is upended.

Rice becomes obsessed with catching the poachers before more bears are harmed. He partners with his predecessor, a scientist who hopes to continue her research on the preserve. Together, they descend deep into the Appalachian wilderness to try to stop the bear killings. The undertaking is far more dangerous than they anticipated—they have hostile altercations with the locals, black marketeers, and even the law, and Rice’s carefully constructed anonymity is blown up. His past is catching up to him in terrifying ways and he’s running out of ideas for how to escape it. . . .

James A. McLaughlin mixes gorgeous, hallucinatory prose with an unrelenting, breathless pace in this powerful debut—lush, humane, and utterly transfixing.


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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Ecco; 1st Edition (June 12, 2018)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 352 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0062742795
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0062742797
  • Lexile measure ‏ : ‎ 1030L
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 1.25 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6 x 1.13 x 9 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.3 out of 5 stars 442 ratings

About the author

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James A. McLaughlin is the author of Bearskin, published by Ecco/HarperCollins in 2018 and winner of the 2019 Edgar Award for Best First Novel. In May 2018, McLaughlin was named one of 4 Writers to Watch This Summer by the New York Times. Bearskin has been included in Amazon’s Best Mysteries and Thrillers of 2018 and Southern Living’s Best Southern Books of the Year 2018, was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection, a July 2018 Indie Next pick, and a Publishers Weekly Summer Reads staff pick. McLaughlin grew up in the mountains of Virginia and now lives in the mountains of Utah.

Customer reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5
442 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on August 27, 2018
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Reviewed in the United States on June 15, 2018
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Top reviews from other countries

Ruby
5.0 out of 5 stars Just sorry...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 1, 2018
One person found this helpful
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Amazon Customer
3.0 out of 5 stars item missing
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 3, 2020
Robert M
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a great book
Reviewed in France on March 8, 2020
RakRD
3.0 out of 5 stars Why not take a chance.
Reviewed in Canada on January 24, 2020
audrey fraser
5.0 out of 5 stars A great read
Reviewed in Canada on February 8, 2019
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