Listen free for 30 days

Bearskin

A Novel
Narrated by: MacLeod Andrews
Length: 9 hrs and 49 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (11 ratings)

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

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, number one NYT best-selling 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 hear the final words.

©2018 James A. McLaughlin (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    5
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    9
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    5
  • 4 Stars
    4
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

No Reviews are Available
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Nancy
  • Nancy
  • 19-06-18

Excellent

I’m always looking for the out of ordinary books and this one did it for me. Keep me intrigued to the end. Not fluff and filler or sex scenes like so many untalented writers fill their books with but certainly not cozy either. Some grisly scenes. Great narration by MacLeod Andrews.

19 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Tommy
  • Tommy
  • 21-06-18

Gets better as it goes

Starts off slow with in depth descriptions of the wilderness which if you enjoy the outdoors as I do you will appreciate it. The main character Rice slowly changes from a laid back caretaker as he pretends to be to a hardened Sicario as you learn his back story while he deals with his current issues. As the book goes it picks up pace and I really enjoyed the main character, glad I bought this and look forward to seeing another book with Rice!

14 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for gbcrockett
  • gbcrockett
  • 16-07-18

Takes its time; worth it

This book starts out like a beautifully written nature documentary about the day-to-day life of a nature preserve's caretaker. As the story unfolds, a backstory emerges little by little. The natural order is disturbed first by locals, then increasingly by sinister outside forces. By the end it is as intense and suspenseful as you could wish. I have a few quibbles (not that I could have done better...). Something of a descent into madness is central to the story, and for me there wasn't quite enough foundation laid for that to be credible, and there's a hardware store employee who's just too perfectly timed and perfectly skilled for belief. But those really are quibbles and not serious problems. This book requires a little patience if you're looking for immediate action, but the writing is good enough that the buildup itself is enjoyable listening. The narration also is first-rate.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for john
  • john
  • 13-09-18

Confusing

I never knew if it was current time or the past. The characters of the people around the main charcter were not well enough defined for me to keep track of if it was current time or a flashback. I ended up returning the book so the connection between the two events might be amazing in the end, but it didn't keep me engaged enough to want to find out.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 25-06-18

Good premise and writing but ultimately a bore

I liked the idea of the book and even enjoyed the writing in much of it. But the devil's in the details and a lot of the characters and plot points were flat and somewhat unbelievable. I found a lot of it paradoxically outlandish but boring. I wish a lot of the story was more simple and straight-forward. His sabbatical in the forest was confusing and unnessary as was a lot of the backstory re: the cartel. It's difficult to pinpoint exactly why a book does or doesn't work, but I can say with confidence much of this book does not work.

12 of 16 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Jennifer
  • Jennifer
  • 24-10-18

Evocative nature scenes and complex crimes

I'm glad I listened to this book and can recommend it, with some qualifications. The opening scenes promise the kind of cerebral contemplative grit that I love about loner action thrillers. Those qualities apply mainly to soul-diving scenes in the woods. Man as animal is an attractive theme. While courting nature much as an object of romantic love, with incredibly beautiful imagery and honesty, the novel's relationship with human nature is austere, relying on archetypes more than intimacy. I can recommend this book for its genius imagery, nearly poetic style, intriguing windows onto crime cultures, and excellent narration.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for BiblioGal
  • BiblioGal
  • 05-05-19

HoHum

I found this book extremely lacking as far as a storyline. The only reason I listened to it was because it beat out "Where the Crawdads Sings" as best first novel and I had to see for myself. Not money well spent.
If you're a man it may have been more appealing but from a woman's perspective not interesting at all.
Nasty language, rape, drug cartels and good old boys! Probably the worst book I've listened to so far this year and the
only reason I kept listening was because I thought "surely this has to get better". Not so.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Daniel McAfee
  • Daniel McAfee
  • 04-03-19

Other Reviews Pretty Accurate, Positive & Negative

I liked the writing style of the author, and other reviews are pretty accurate. He describes nature and his scenes well. There just isn't enough of a story here though. If this author finds a compelling story to tell, I believe I would enjoy it.

I was a little surprised by the number of highly positive reviews on this book. While the narrator does a fine job, I have a hard time recommending this one. I'm on the fence, so if you have nothing else on your list, then it is marginally worth the listen, but otherwise I would say put this one on the low priority list.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Riley
  • Riley
  • 25-09-18

The cover art is friggin’ awesome but...

Boring. And I love books with a wilderness setting. But boring. Felt like I must have missed the intriguing parts but I didn’t.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Sue Cunningham
  • Sue Cunningham
  • 07-08-18

Fascinating characters

Bearskin is not your typical mystery; nor are the characters every day people. McLaughlin has filled his novel with fascinating characters. The main character is hardly hero material but seems to be in a period of self-discovery which includes his relationship with nature and people. In his search to find who has been slaughtering bears in the preserve, he inspires trust in members of the local community and a young woman with a lot of reason to hate and mistrust men.
It is a complex compelling read.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful