05 May 2016

Review: Breaking Wild by Diane Les Becquets

Review: Breaking Wild by Diane Les BecquetsDiane Les Becquets's Breaking Wild is a difficult novel to classify. It's a combination of mystery and outdoor adventure, but it's also a character study of two strong women.

What's it about? Amy Raye Latour, a lifelong hunter and outdoorswoman, goes missing in the Colorado mountains on the last day of elk season. Pru Hathaway, a law-enforcement ranger, is tagged to be part of the search and rescue team.

Structure & plot points: The novel is told from the alternating viewpoints of Pru and Amy Raye, though it is not clear what the ultimate outcome will be. Pru and her team explore a number of theories to explain Amy Raye's disappearance, including accident, runaway, animal attack, and murder. As authorities dig into Amy Raye's past, they expose her secrets. When the search is finally called off, Pru (and others) continue to wonder what became of Amy Raye.

Meanwhile, Amy Raye's life has narrowed to a single focus: survival. Her harrowing ordeal is described in vivid detail, bringing the fear, uncertainty, desperation, and self-analysis to the fore. Les Becquets wrote Amy Raye's chapters in such a way that I really didn't know whether she would ever be rescued (or would rescue herself). I was left guessing until the final chapters, and a sad or happy ending was equally possible.

What I liked: Several things about Breaking Wild kept me fully invested in the story. (1) The women themselves. They were both strong, complex, smart, and independent. (2) I loved the setting and how much the natural environment played a role in the novel. (3) I liked getting to know Pru's search and rescue dog, Kono. (4) I liked the uncertainty of Amy Raye's ultimate fate. (5) I liked the way the women were changed by their experiences--and that was not a spoiler.

Recommendation: The combination of mystery, adventure, and thriller works well in Breaking Wild. The novel rings true in the outdoor scenes as well as for the women's actions and inner thoughts. Although Breaking Wild will not make my top-ten list for 2016, I enjoyed it and think it would appeal to those of you who like thrillers, adventure stories, and/or books about strong women.

Things to know: Kirkus gave Breaking Wild a starred review. Diane Les Becquets is herself an experienced hunter and loves the outdoors, which brings a firsthand authenticity to her novel. Read the NPR interview for more insight.

Audiobook: I listened to the unabridged audiobook edition (Recorded Books; 8 hr, 40 min), which is read by Therese Plummer and Saskia Maarleveld. Their voices were well matched and their performances were okay. My full audiobook review will be published by AudioFile magazine.

Published by Berkley, 2016
ISBN-13: 9780425283783
Source: Review: audiobook (see review policy)
Copyright © cbl for Beth Fish Reads, all rights reserved (see review policy)


bermudaonion 5/5/16, 9:15 AM  

I love strong women and like thrillers so I think I'd probably like this book. Thanks for the review!

Vicki 5/5/16, 1:10 PM  

Very interesting! Most stories like this have a male protagonist. I like that this has a female.

rhonda 5/5/16, 6:52 PM  

Love a novel with strong women characters adding this one to my tbr pile.

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