Elizabeth A.'s Reviews > The Bone Trail

The Bone Trail by Nell Walton
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May 02, 2011

When wild horse advocates Lindy Abraham and Julia Evans tire of the runaround they keep getting from the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), the organization that is supposed to be there to assist with the women’s efforts at conservation, the two decide to launch their own investigation to discover why the BLM seems to be dragging its heels.

What they discover is shocking. Instead of working as an advocate for the horses, the BLM appears to have gotten into bed with mining companies, forcing the wild horses off land the companies want to use for mining purposes. Instead of running free, the horses have been penned into an enclosure where they are apparently being neglected, or worse, and left to die.

Horrified, the women film what they find, intending to turn the film over to the press and expose the BLM’s unethical, and perhaps criminal, behavior. Before they are able to release the tape, however, the women disappear.

Enter investigative journalist Kate Wyndham, herself an avid horsewoman. Sent to discover what happened to the two women, her efforts are stonewalled by local authorities, with the F.B.I. not offering much more by way of assistance. Determined not to be brushed aside, Kate turns to Jim Ludlow, a Shoshone Indian and local rancher with a reputation as a horse “whisperer.” Together they launch an investigation, and every step closer to the truth also brings them one step closer to death.

Though fiction, The Bone Trail unfortunately has its roots in actual events. As such, in addition to being an engaging mystery it also offers the reader a chance to be educated on matters of land conservation for wild horses and how that often butts heads with industrial desires to utilize some of the same lands. The descriptions of the poor conditions the horses are forced to endure are fairly graphic, so if scenes of animals in distress are upsetting to you a quick flip past them is in order. They are, however, essential to telling the story properly, and are in no way inserted for gratuitous purposes.

Author Nell Walton also balances out the heavier aspects of the story with several scenes of subtle humor, as well as a budding romance between Kate and Jim. Add to that beautiful descriptions of the scenery in Northern Nevada and the horses when they are running wild and free as intended, and The Bone Trail makes for an intriguing mix of mystery, western, and light romance. If that sounds like your cup of tea, definitely consider taking a trip down The Bone Trail.

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