‘A Solitude of Wolverines’ by Alice Henderson combines endangered animals and nail-biting action

It’s always a treat to read a really thrilling first book in a new series and know that the future will have many more such good reads in store. “A Solitude of Wolverines” by Alice Henderson is such a book, and readers will want to keep biologist Alex Carter on their radar as her upcoming adventures are released.

In this first book, we meet Alex, who is living in Boston and has just finished working on a wetlands habitat. In the first scene, a businessman whose real estate project was stymied because of the wetlands and endangered species found there, and who had to declare bankruptcy, shows up determined to make those involved suffer as he has. Just before he can kill Alex, but after he shoots a reporter, he is killed by an unknown sniper.

Alex is in Boston to be with her long-time boyfriend. While they had similar goals in college, we learn he has changed and wants the corporate dream — lots of money and prestige. Alex wants to save the world. Those goals don’t work well together, and Alex feels stifled in Boston. She wants to be in nature, protecting endangered species and working for the betterment of the environment. When an opportunity to study wolverines in Montana arises, she jumps at it.

The Montana setting is like something out of “The Shining” (cue scary music). An abandoned ski resort with outbuildings far from neighbors and town leaves Alex feeling unsettled. And while she loves the pristine wilderness and actually spots wolverines, she receives dire warnings that she should leave. In fact, her first encounter is when she arrives and a truck forces her off the road.

But Alex has a few strengths that aren’t readily apparent. Her mother, who had been a fighter pilot in the military, had trained Alex in survival techniques and thinking quickly. Alex not only knows her way around an engine, she knows martial arts and can protect herself. Yet she also loves to read and is passionate about saving animals. In short, she is an extremely likable main character.

There are many other characters in the story, and we really don’t know who is trustworthy and who isn’t. The local hunters aren’t happy that the preserve is now off limits to hunting, and when she comes across a man who appears to be dying, with broken legs, no shoes, and missing toes, she races to get him medical help. But when they get to the spot where she found him, he has disappeared. Even search dogs find no trace of any path.

The story crackles with exciting and engaging suspense, and you won’t want to put the book down as Alex races against unknown enemies to save not only herself, but several animals in danger. A fascinating main character, a touch of romance, lots and lots of action, and a mysterious sniper who we know will be in future books all make this a mystery series you will want to keep reading.  

This review was first posted on Bookreporter.com.