Author James McLaughlin, BEARSKIN
September 25th at Bud Werner Memorial Library, 6:30 PM
An evening with the author of Bearskin, “one of the year’s most buzzy, fascinating thrillers" (Entertainment Weekly), who writes in the riveting, rugged vein of Smith Henderson, Daniel Woodrell and Annie Proulx — a debut novel fortified with impressive research, breathtaking psychological acuity and addictive plotting.
“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.” — NYT bestselling author C.J. Box
Haunting....Rendered in remarkable prose....[An] edgy tale, with human greed and wildlife exploitation at its heart.” — Booklist
“[A] twisty, knuckle-gnawing thriller.... Remarkable.... Terrifying.” — Publishers Weekly (Staff Pick—Best of Summer 2018)
Rice Moore is a field researcher by trade and a former smuggler by association. His new job as a caretaker and researcher for the Turk Mountain Forest Preserve in rural Virginia seems ideal, not only for its remote, largely untouched wooded terrain but because it is a perfect hideout from the Mexican drug cartels he betrayed back in Arizona. When Rice finds the carcass of a bear killed by poachers on the reserve, his newly quiet life unravels. As the bear killings continue, Rice partners with his predecessor, a scientist named Sara who remains passionate about her work on the preserve while struggling to overcome the horrific incident that ended her time there. In trying to stop the poaching, Rice finds himself in the hostile crosshairs of the locals, the law, and even his employers. The investigation pushes him into a nationwide criminal network, pulling him back into the deadly past he had hoped never to encounter again.
McLaughlin’s lifelong fascination with what he calls “the unfathomable will of the forest” is enchantingly explored through Rice, whose perceptions become mysteriously affected as he stalks poachers through the preserve. As his investigation deepens, Rice seems to embrace the blurring of the line between man and nature.
About the Author
James McLaughlin’s path to publishing his debut novel at age 54 has been one of fits and starts. While writing has always remained his goal, he’s also co-founded a business and works as a lawyer (both in the realm of land conservation). Inspired by a family member’s roadside encounter with a one-armed mushroom picker who bemoaned the bear poachers he encountered in the forests of rural Virginia, Bearskin has been in stages of development since the mid-1990s. As a novella, it won the 2009 William Peden Prize for best fiction published by The Missouri Review.
McLaughlin holds law and MFA degrees from the University of Virginia. His fiction and essays have appeared in The Missouri Review, The Portland Review, The Clackamas Literary Review and elsewhere. He grew up in rural Virginia and lives in the Wasatch Range east of Salt Lake City.
This community talk is free.
About the Library Author Series
Bud Werner Memorial Library presents an ongoing program of author talks throughout the year. These are free community events held in Library Hall, where a diverse award-winning range of visiting authors speak about their literary works and their writing processes. Each talk is followed by a Q&A and an opportunity to have authors sign copies of their books.