Book - 2018
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Baker & Taylor
Hiding out from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed in Arizona, Rice More, while protecting a remote forest preserve in Virginian Appalachia, exposes a bear-poaching scheme that revelas his location to the criminals he was running from in the first place. 150,000 first printing.


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.

& Taylor

Hiding out from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed in Arizona, Rice Moore exposes a bear-poaching scheme in Virginian Appalachia that reveals his location to the criminals he was running from in the first place.

Publisher: New York : Ecco, [2018]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062742797
Characteristics: pages ; cm
Alternative Title: Bear-skin


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Nov 30, 2018

Interesting infor of why there is bear poaching. I got lost sometimes when the main character went off into dreamland. The ending could have been stretched out and cleared up a little better.

Nov 01, 2018

Thoughtful blend of effort to save a pristine piece of nature and the world of greed, poaching for profit along with the back story of the caretaker of the property gave for a compelling read

Oct 23, 2018

Appalachian crime fiction w/ ghost bears and magic mushrooms. Ended too soon w/ ending that was a little too neat for me. The author discontinued the flashbacks to Mexico and Arizona too soon. But an enjoyable (different) piece of crime fiction.

A creative take on the genre! It has some roller coaster moments and nearly falls apart a few times, but I'd recommend it overall for anyone who likes thrillers, crime dramas, survival and wilderness tales. At times I wondered if the author was himself a wildlife biologist or if the terminology and science-speak were thrown in to make the character seem more authentic. Either way it worked!

Sep 19, 2018

Really,really good. Keeps the story moving and interesting and exciting. I have read many books in this genre and this is up there with the best.

EKGO Aug 08, 2018

This is not quite what I'd expected.
It's a genre blend of drug cartel thriller, Appalachian grit-lit with some paranormal/folkloric realism, and redemption tale but it's not mixed so well as to create a single, seamless story; there are definite chunks of genre floating throughout. Choking hazards abound.
Chew carefully before swallowing for a filling, satisfying read.

Jul 27, 2018

Other than the author using unusually large and obscure words sometimes, this is a really good read. I don't know if the author does this to make himself look smarter or to make his reader feel stupid, but if you can get over a handful of words that I have never seen in any fictional books I have ever read, you will enjoy!

Jul 15, 2018

An excellent first novel of two intertwining stories. Well written and well authentic page-turner. Highly recommended.

Jun 24, 2018

Gritty, intelligent, and original, don't miss this gem. Rick is trying to lay low after he betrayed a drug cartel who then murdered his girlfriend, and he takes a job as a caretaker at a Virginia Forest Preserve. He's tough, smart, a can do guy, whether it's handling hostile locals, or rehabbing his cabin. He's likable, but of course no saint, and danger soon follows. Someone on the Preserve is illegally butchering bears and Rick is on the case. This is a slight problem for me as Rick is worried about his life, why would he risk exposure by hunting down scumbag poachers? The author describes nature beautifully and though the locals seem to be stereotypical hillbillies who hate outsiders, it's probably close to the mark. Tribalism does explain our current President. It's easy to disappear in the scary and beautiful world of "Bearskin."


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