THE CLEANSING

John D. Harvey, Author, Tony Patrick, Illustrator, Jennifer A. Niles, Designed by . Arkham $32.95 (319p) ISBN 978-0-87054-181-0

In this lively, inventive first novel, Harvey offers an intriguing premise, vivid characters, a fast-moving plot and solid prose. Because the growing human population threatens the planet's ecology, a Nature spirit in the form of a huge wolf is born out of the earth to lead wolf packs against us. While Wanata, the supernatural being, starts organizing thousands of wolves and dogs in Alaska, the author introduces the major human characters in an efficient montage of brief scenes: Savannah Channing, a resourceful, outdoor-loving journalist; John Merwyn, a young Native American who rejects his heritage; and Chase Perry, a sociopath who enjoys hunting dangerous animals and raping women. The plot is more in keeping with the game-playing of military SF than the formless uncertainty of much horror fiction, as Wanata musters his forces while the humans try to figure out how to stop him. There's even a surprising amount of sly humor, especially in the sarcastic conferences of the wolf/dog high command. Toward the end, though, readers may begin to wonder how Harvey will wind everything up satisfactorily. In fact, the story just stops, waiting for a sequel that, according to the author bio on the dust jacket, Harvey intends to write after he's produced a prequel to use up the research he accumulated for this novel. A thrifty decision perhaps, but one that may leave a lot of readers frustrated. Agent, Carol McCleary. (Oct. 25)

Reviewed on: 10/21/2002
Release date: 10/01/2002
Genre: Fiction
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