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Bearskin

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3.79  ·  Rating details ·  3,929 ratings  ·  638 reviews
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 ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published June 12th 2018 by Ecco
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Barb A bit bloody, but no sexual content. I would recommend it to an older teen boy or girl. It was very good. (by the time you read this, you might have…moreA bit bloody, but no sexual content. I would recommend it to an older teen boy or girl. It was very good. (by the time you read this, you might have gotten it already ;)(less)

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.79  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,929 ratings  ·  638 reviews


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Jeffrey Keeten
”The giant trees were like dormant gods, vibrating with something he couldn’t name, not quite sentience, each one different from the others, each telling its own centuries-long story. On the forest floor, chestnut logs dead since the blight had rotted into chest-high berms soft with thick mosses, whispering quietly. Something called out and he turned to face a looming tulip tree, gnarled and bent like an old man, hollowed out by rot, lightning, ancient fires.

His skin tingled.”


 photo Tulip20Tree202_zpspz9btku8.jpg

Rice Moore felt the pain
...more
Tammy
Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a literary humdinger of a thriller. Set in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia, Rice Moore is a man with a dangerous past. As the caretaker of a nature preserve he seems to have found the perfect place to hide. Living an isolated and almost hermetic existence with his past seemingly behind him, Moore becomes involved in trying to stop a bear poaching ring that is operating on the preserve. Sounds straightforward doesn’t it? It isn’t.

The writing is absolutely sublime...atmospheric, evo
...more
karen
Dec 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
NOW AVAILABLE!!!

this is a fine, meaty debut. it’s grit lit literary enough to drop words like “extispicy,” but gritty enough to include an anecdote* that made me, long leatherskinned against book violence, wince.

it takes place deep in the virginia part of the appalachians, where a man named rice moore has been working for six months, appreciating the seclusion of his new home:

No other human being lived within miles. Rice presided alone over seven thousand acres of private nature preserve: he was the caretaker, the
...more
Shelby *trains flying monkeys*
I went into this sucker as a buddy read with the high hopes of getting out of my book slump-working all the hours-holiday hecticness. It ain't happening.



No, I can't really have it all.

What I read of this is damn boring. I ain't got time for that.
This is old school frigging Captain Planet trying to sit down and do a grit lit book and it's just boring as hell.


We get you Captain...we really do. (If you are not old enough to know wh
...more
Edward Lorn
Jan 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic addition to the Hick-Lit genre

BEARSKINS blew my expectations out of the water. At times beautiful, at times tense, this book is never boring. I enjoyed the author's way with words and his appreciation of small details. The genre needs more writers like James A. McLaughlin.
Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance
3/5 🐻🐻🐻

A rural, raw slow burn eco-thriller taking place in the Appalachian Mountains...

Rice Moore has left his past behind to become a caretaker at the Turk Mountain Preserve deep in the Appalachian Mountains. The locals are skeptical of him as he works for what they call “wealthy outsiders”. His predecessor, a woman, was raped while on the job, leaving him consciously aware and skittish of any movements around his living quarters and property. Not to mention his prior as
...more
Kelly (and the Book Boar)
Find all of my reviews at: http://52bookminimum.blogspot.com/

2.5 Stars

Upon realizing the buddy read of Bear Skin wasn’t going to be a winner for me, I was fully prepared to . . . .



But then a miracle of all miracles happened and our fearlessful leader Ron 2.0 not only finished this book but managed to write a review nearly instantly rather than his usual 18 month turnaround time. And then we agreed on it . . . . .



Ron points out in his review (go read it, he’s way gooder at the word thing than I am) how this is grit lit without the grit and that is spot on.fearful
...more
Ɗẳɳ  2.☊
Dec 10, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grit-lit, crime
★★☆☆☆

Whatever is a reader to do when finding oneself with a thriller bereft of thrills? A resonating call of the wild that fails to resonate? A Grit Lit story without a whole heck of a lotta grit? Say it ain’t so, Joe!

Well, it wouldn’t surprise me if my frenemies who joined me for this buddy read, the GIF twins, simply throw in the towel. Time will tell. But I’ve always prided myself on my can-do attitude, my stick-to-it-iveness; my certain je ne sais quoi. So you better believe that I read every part a
...more
Tammy
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a literary humdinger of a thriller. Set in the Appalachian mountains of Virginia, Rice Moore is a man with a dangerous past. As the caretaker of a nature preserve he seems to have found the perfect place to hide from a drug cartel. Living an isolated and almost hermetic existence, Moore becomes a vigilante as he tries to stop a bear poaching ring operating on the preserve. Sounds straightforward, doesn’t it? It isn’t.

The writing is absolutely sublime....atmospheric, evocative
...more
J.K. Grice
Jan 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
In BEARSKIN, McLaughlin has not only crafted a taught novel of suspense, but also a compelling view of the natural world and how we as humans respect and/or exploit that world. Rice Moore is a unique character; an educated field biologist, as well as a part time badass when push comes to shove. He's a survivor and wiser than his years in some regards. I loved Rice's story and McLaughlin's prose and just how deftly this marvelous book was handled. Richly drawn characters abound in BEARSKIN, and I ...more
Cathrine ☯️
5 🤤 🤤 🤤 🤤 🤤
Lovely, dark, violent, and entertaining — a suspenseful poetic eco thriller tailor made for my guilty pleasures palate. I’m a respectful borrower so somehow managed to keep my saliva from dripping DNA all over the pages. Another Hot Damn! read.
Thank you James McLaughlin. I very much look forward to your next offering.
Suzanne
Jul 10, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an awesome read. I live in Virginia so I had the added bonus that a good part of the book takes place there. I have had an odd fascination with bears. I actually self research interaction between bears and humans in my spare time because they fascinate me (I’m a research psychologist so I like to do research even in my spare time). So the bear aspect of the book was sad to read about (the hunting dogs also) but the different plots going on in Rice’s life really make this book. It was an ...more
Libby
“What amazed Rice was how you could spend your whole life physically immersed in a particular ecological system and yet remain blinded to it by superstition, tradition, prejudice.”

A prominent theme in ‘Bearskin’ by James A. McLaughlin is the necessity of violence. Others are our disappearing world of nature, reality versus nonreality, and science versus superstition. The prologue opens with the protagonist, Rice Moore, in a prison in Mexico. It’s a violent scene for survival and the
...more
LeAnne: GeezerMom
Nov 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorite-books
How often do you hike the autumn woods, paddle a burbling creek, or shrink inside when you hear about big game hunters slaughtering beasts for no good reason? I am a geologist by education, vocation, but most importantly mindset. As they say in Steel Magnolias, I am "the outdoorsy type."

This gorgeous debut, written by a Virginia-born conservation attorney, was 20 years in the making, and that is why, I suppose, it feels like a life's work. The story, with a cathedral ceiling of tree
...more
Trudie
Feb 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 - 3

I am always on the lookout for a new author to take me on a journey similar to Ian McGuire's The North Water . The synopsis of Bearskin made me think I was getting a modern day The Revenant crossed with some episodes of Narcos-Mexico. This was idealistic as Bearskin is more Powers The Overstory crossed with an ecology textbook by way of a few pages torn from Don Winslow.

Even though I wanted a literary / eco-thriller experience by the end of the novel I came to the conclusion
...more
Diane S ☔
DNF at 35% Writing is good just having trouble connecting.
Pat
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-books, 2018
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chris
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Starts off with some possibility and a guy called Rice, with a back story of betraying Mexican drug cartels in Arizona. He wants to be off the grid and stay off the radar so he takes an obscure job as a tracker/caretaker/maintenance man deep in a private wilderness preserve in Virginia.

A mutilated bear is found on the property, hands cut off and gallbladder removed and hence it begins. He is so obsessed with catching the poachers and the various ways he sets traps and tracks activities is comme
...more
Erica
This is not quite what I'd expected.
It's a genre blend of drug cartel thriller, Appalachian grit-lit with some paranormal/folkloric realism, and redemption tale but it's not mixed so well as to create a single, seamless story; there are definite chunks of genre floating throughout. Choking hazards abound.

Rice Moore/Rick Morton, 34, is on the run from Mexican drug cartels and is hiding as a caretaker for a large private preserve in the backwoods of Virginia. (view spoiler) ...more
Marc
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was an incredible read! I wasn't sure what I would end up thinking of it but the last 100 pages or so sealed the deal for me. "Bearskin" is an intense thriller and the author does an amazing job transporting the reader to the Appalachian mountains of Virginia. Truly a unique novel of suspense and I highly recommend it. All I can say is stick with it until the end-you'll be glad you did!
Eric
Jul 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bearskin by James McLaughlin features a main character named Rice Moore as a caretaker of a private wildlife preserve in the Virginia Appalachian mountains. Rice is not native to the area and has taken over duties once carried out by a woman that was violently chased out by locals.

Locals in the area are offended people they consider outsiders have carved out the preserve in lands felt to belong to them, even though the preserve has been owned by the same people for many generations.

The story i
...more
Melania 🍒
Oct 06, 2018 rated it liked it
3/5

Just fine. It dragged ,the end was too convenient ,actually the whole story was a bit unbelievable. After the 50% mark my interest in reading this took a hard hit and it never recovered. It was an achievement that I read the whole thing, to be fair.
Tom Mathews
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is my first book by McLaughlin and I really enjoyed it. Part literary/part thriller, it is the story of Rice, on the run from the Mexican cartels and taking refuge as the caretaker of a private nature preserve in Virginia. His tranquility is shattered though when he learns that poachers have been sneaking onto the property he is supposed to be protecting and killing and mutilating wild bears on the property.

I look forward to reading more books by James A. McLaughlin.

My thanks to the folks at
...more
B.A. Brock
May 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oof. That was a good book. I would have skipped my day job for that one, if I wasn’t so poor.

A mix between Thoreau and Nevada Barr, ‘Bearskin’ was equally surreal and stone-cold present in the moment. In fact, I’m still not sure if our protagonist has a few screws loose or not. I’m thinking so.

Rice was relatable, despite his toxic masculinity and stupidity (see toxic masculinity for source of said stupidity). I liked that he was half shaman and scientist, a source of his irreconcila
...more
Viv JM
4.5 stars

This is a really excellent debut literary thriller. There's enough excitement to be properly thrilling but it's also coupled with some really wonderful and evocative nature writing. I listened to the audiobook, which was very well narrated by MacLeod Andrews, so I would recommend that format.
Michael
My review for this book was published in the Feb. 15, 2018, edition of Library Journal:

On the lam from a drug cartel after they killed his girlfriend, biologist Rice Moore has gone off the grid in Virginia, finding work as a caretaker at the secluded Turk Mountain Preserve. The forest is off-limits to hunters, and Moore's primary job is to monitor the vast acreage for disturbances. It's lonely and exhausting work but exactly what Moore needs, until he discovers a bear carcass left behind by poa
...more
John
Rice Moore, recently completing a stint in a Mexican prison for being a mule transporting money, drugs and arms across the border, has recently taken a job managing the privately-owned Turk Mountain Private located in southwestern Virginia.During one of his rounds, he finds a bear carcass with its paws and gallbladder removed, high-demand items for Chinese medicine. Rice is emboldened to find the poachers begins an investigation with the reclusive locals. Rice's efforts could be compromised by t ...more
Ms.pegasus
Oct 26, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, thriller
Bears have always been powerful figures in the human imagination. They reside in the dark secret world of the forest. Their acute sense of smell lures them into close proximity to humans. When they rear up they present the image of a terrifying half-human revenant. They are resourceful and persevering apex hunters whose strength commands awe. Their ability to hibernate suggests a shared habitation with humans in a mythic dream world.

Author James McLaughlin, an experienced outdoorsman
...more
Shane Keene
Jun 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Mini review: This book is fucking outstanding! Full review coming to Ink Heist soon.
Cody
Dec 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“He found it puzzling that so many rural people were hostile to, even terrified of, the place where they lived. It wasn't just that hard-working country folk had no time for the precious concerns of the effete urban environmentalists, what amazed Rice was how you could spend your whole life physically immersed in a particular ecological system and yet remain blinded to it by superstition, tradition, prejudice."

Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin is a slow-burning eco thriller. Escaping h
...more
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“The giant trees were like dormant gods, vibrating with something he couldn't name, not quite sentience, each one different from the others, each telling its own centuries-long story.” 8 likes
“when you slack off, what you’re really doing is choosing to fail because you didn’t try hard enough. It was a rational choice, his father had said, for people who would rather fail on purpose than risk finding out they’re not good enough, but if you made that choice you should at least be honest with yourself about what you were doing.” 4 likes
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