cover image Little Wolves

Little Wolves

Thomas Maltman. Soho, $25 (352p) ISBN 978-1-61695-190-0

Maltman follows his 2007 debut, The Night Birds, with this powerful novel set in 1987 Lone Mountain, Minn. When troubled teen Seth Fallon shoots and kills Sheriff Will Gunderson before committing suicide, Seth’s widowed father, known as Grizz, struggles to understand his son’s actions. Seth’s substitute English teacher, Clara Warren, wife of the local Lutheran pastor, muses over the impending birth of her first child as she recalls the tales her father told her, all centered on an abandoned baby and the wolves who raised it. Seth came to see Clara, though she didn’t answer the door, and she berates herself in hindsight for not preventing what came next. The town’s strange custom of burying all suicide victims in a separate area angers Grizz as he tries to piece together Seth’s life leading up to the shooting, while Clara becomes more obsessed in identifying her deceased mother, who may have once lived in Lone Mountain. Maltman skillfully evokes oppressive smalltown life and the far-reaching consequences of violence. Agent: Laura Langlie, Laura Langlie Agency. (Jan.)