Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Ghost of Caribou by Alice Henderson Book Review

About the Book:

When a remote camera on a large, rugged expanse held by the Land Trust for Wildlife Conservation picks up a blurry image of what could be a mountain caribou, they contact Alex Carter to investigate. After all, mountain caribou went extinct in the contiguous U.S. years ago, and if one has wandered down from Canada, it’s monumental.

But when Alex arrives on scene in the Selkirk mountains of northeastern Washington state, she quickly learns that her only challenge isn’t finding an elusive caribou on a massive piece of land. The nearby townspeople are agitated; loggers and activists clash over a swath of old growth forest marked for clearcutting. The murdered body of a forest ranger is found strung up in the town’s park, and Alex learns of a backcountry hiker who went missing in the same area the year before.

As she ventures into the forest in search of the endangered animal, she quickly finds herself in a fight for her life, caught between factions warring for the future of the forest and a murderer stalking the dense groves of ancient trees.

My Review:

I have thoroughly enjoyed this series. I love to learn when I read a novel and Henderson is good at giving readers lots of information about animals, such as their habitat and behavior. And this one is all about mountain caribou although there is other information on animals, such as ravens and pack rats. I had no idea that caribou feed in old growth forests. They eat lichen That takes decades to grow so is only found on old growth trees. Henderson also draws readers attention to the danger to caribou habitat climate change is causing. She mentions it several times. There is also an additional issue of protesting the logging old growth forests.

The plot is a bit complex. It involves some outlying people in the mountains and their strange, and deadly behavior. Alex is a capable heroine, even if she doesn't take photos when she should and she does go off on her own into danger. I did feel the plot was a little repetitive as the same kinds of events happen time and again.

I really like the setting of the northeast corner of my native Washington State. I have been to many of the places Henderson mentions and that was an enjoyable factor for me. I like to day hike in the woods but after reading this novel, I just might have second thoughts. There are dangerous people in those woods. 

This is a good novel for readers who like to learn about nature, are concerned about climate change, and like a suspenseful plot with an over the top heroine.

You can read my reviews of the earlier books in the series: A Solitude of Wolverines and A Blizzard of Polar Bears.

My rating: 4/5 stars.

About the Author:

In addition to being a writer, 
Alice Henderson is a wildlife sanctuary monitor, geographic information systems specialist, and bioacoustician. She documents wildlife on specialized recording equipment, checks remote cameras, creates maps, and undertakes wildlife surveys to determine what species are present on preserves, while ensuring there are no signs of poaching. She’s surveyed for the presence of grizzlies, wolves, wolverines, jaguars, endangered bats, and more. 

William Morrow, 320 pages.

I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.

(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)

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