cover image Wolf Season

Wolf Season

Helen Benedict. Bellevue Literary (Consortium, dist.), $16.99 trade paper (320p) ISBN 978-1-942658-30-6

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and their impact on the lives of three families in a small upstate New York town are the focus of the gripping new novel from Benedict (Sand Queen). At the center is Rin Drummond—a deeply damaged war widow and an Iraq veteran with crippling PTSD—along with her illegally-kept trio of wolves and remarkable blind nine-year-old daughter, Juney. The wolves’ existence intrigues Tariq Jassim, who escaped Iraq with his mother after a bomb blew off his leg; Flanner McAllister, whose father is a Marine deployed overseas; and Flanner’s mother, Beth, who worries about the growing distance between her and her son but worries more about the threat Rin’s wolves pose to her family’s safety. Early on, it is hinted that the wolves Rin protects and Beth fears will cause a showdown. Tariq and Juney form a very sweet and innocent friendship and Rin grudgingly accepts him into her pack Flanner becomes increasingly hostile and scornful of Beth for being weak, a progression Benedict skillfully sets up. A low level of dread builds slowly, drawing readers toward the inevitable climactic clash, though Benedict’s memorable and complicated characterization is the true highlight. (Oct.)