Happy Thursday! Today I am super excited to share a review of The Wildlands, a standout genre-spanning novel now available from Counterpoint Press!
In the prologue of The Wildlands, a family is quickly preparing for a Category 5 tornado. They live on a farm and are working to secure the animals and themselves before disaster potentially strikes. I read The Wildlands as a hurricane was leaving an indelible and devastating path through my home state, and Abby Geni’s adept writing had me viscerally preparing for the tornado with the family.
The McCloud children live in Mercy, Oklahoma. They lose everything in the tornado and wind up orphaned and living in a trailer. These siblings, Cora, Jane, Darlene, and Tucker, are developed in three-dimension. You can almost hear them breathing; they are executed so well.
Tucker leaves his family behind but reappears years later after a bomb goes off in a cosmetics factory near Mercy. The lab animals are released during the bombing. Tucker now needs nine-year-old Cora’s help, and they set off together on a thrilling mission of violence and retribution.
Darlene assists the police in finding her siblings at a California zoo. Tucker is committed to saving the lives of animals, and he views his mission as a war.
The Wildlands is a literary-eco-suspense/thriller. A tension was felt throughout the story that kept me engaged and invested whether it was the tornado or the set-up of one of Cora and Tucker’s acts of vengeance. Geni’s prose is like butter- smooth and deliberate balanced with ample description. I compulsively re-read passages to absorb their radiance.
I am awe-struck by this smart book and everything accomplished by this talented author, and I cannot wait to read my copy of The Lightkeepers. The Wildlands captures “wild” in every sense of the word.
Thank you to Counterpoint Press for the invitation to read and review and the physical ARC. All opinions are my own.
From the award winning author of The Lightkeepers comes a page turning new novel that explores the bond between siblings and the animal instincts that threaten to destroy them.
When a Category 5 tornado ravaged Mercy, Oklahoma, no family in the small town lost more than the McClouds. Their home and farm were instantly demolished, and orphaned siblings Darlene, Jane, and Cora made media headlines. This relentless national attention and the tornado’s aftermath caused great tension with their brother, Tucker, who soon abandoned his sisters and disappeared.
On the three-year anniversary of the tornado, a cosmetics factory outside of Mercy is bombed, and the lab animals trapped within are released. Tucker reappears, injured from the blast, and seeks the help of nine-year-old Cora. Caught up in the thrall of her charismatic brother, whom she has desperately missed, Cora agrees to accompany Tucker on a cross-country mission to make war on human civilization.
Cora becomes her brother’s unwitting accomplice, taking on a new identity while engaging in acts of escalating violence. Darlene works with Mercy police to find her siblings, leading to an unexpected showdown at a zoo in Southern California. The Wildlands is another remarkable literary thriller from critically acclaimed writer Abby Geni, one that examines what happens when one family becomes trapped in the tenuous space between the human and animal worlds.
Have you read The Wildlands or The Lightkeepers by this author, or are either on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR