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4.09  ·  Rating details ·  53 Ratings  ·  16 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
Expected publication: June 12th 2018 by Ecco
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Jan 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
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
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
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 and, at tim
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 irreconcilable self. I
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 poac
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Determined to lay low after a vicious encounter with the Sinaloa Mexican drug cartel, Rice Moore has re-surfaced in the wilds of Appalachia as a research biologist. Destined to lead a life of solitude to survive, Moore stumbles upon a mysterious mushroom hunter, who leads him to a series of bear carcasses. Violence soon ensues from all directions, forcing a desperate Moore into a dance sure to destroy him. James McLaughlin’s debut thriller “Bearskins” is a page-turner certain to keep you on the ...more
It is astonishing that this is a 'debut' novel. McLaughlin has seemingly stepped out of the gate as fully formed mature writer.

I can't say enough good things about this debut. McLaughlin has woven a narrative with strands that appear at odds with one another. A bio-scientist who gets involved with a Mexican drug cartel who is knowledgeable of under cover sleuthing activities (though he fails at this occasionally, which is surprisingly realistic as well), and is passionate about trying to sav
Nancy McFarlane
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Bearskin is not a typical action filled thriller. It is a beautifully written literary adventure set in a pristine area of Appalachian Virginia. The action, while slow at times, builds into something powerful and intense by the end. Rice Moore is trying to get his life back together after a vicious run in with the Sinaloa Mexican cartel. He is a biologist who cares deeply about the environment and the animals in his job as caretaker of a private Virginia nature reserve. Rice must figure out how ...more
Amy Morgan
Jan 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
Thank you Edelweiss for my review copy of this book. This was an incredible debut! Rice Moore thinks he is finally safe in the remote forest preserve he is now the caretaker of. It is solitary and far away from the Mexican drug cartel that wants to kill him. One day Rice discovers that there is an illegal bear poaching ring on his land and creates a plan to expose the poachers but also risks exposing himself to his enemies in the process.

A complex and well developed cast of characters and the s
Apr 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Rice Moore, the caretaker of a private 7,000-acre preserve in the Virginia panhandle, discovers a mutilated bear on his property and sets out to find the men who committed this crime. It's going to be hard work that puts him in the paths of disgruntled hillbillies, ex-military poachers, and motorcycle gangs. He has to be extra careful, because any scrape with the law could ping his location to the cartel sicario he's been hiding from after a deal gone wrong on the border.

Bearskin a punishingly
Deborah Spera
Jun 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: loved-this-book
The character and place pull us into the story of a man on the run from his past. Hiding out by working in a nature reserve, Rice Moore decides to hunt down the culprits who are poaching bears on this protected land, but finds himself up against more than he bargains for. This is a world I'm fascinated by and McLaughlin captures the place with great authenticity. The bears themselves serve almost as a metaphor as Rice descends into becoming much like the wild animal in an attempt to save what is ...more
Apr 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
A word of advice: When hiding from a drug cartel, laying low in a remote forest preserve with a high-stakes poaching problem and a surplus of local criminals might not be the best move.

In this page turning debut, Rice Moore battles inner demons and dangerous enemies in a landscape that strips men down to their most base instincts- for better or worse.

This ARC was provided by Ecco/HarperCollins, in exchange for an honest review.
Caleb Masters
Mar 09, 2018 rated it liked it
James McLaughlin definitely has a gift for description; bringing the dense forest of rural Virginia to life. The passages about the woods, plants, animals, and the bristling life contained within a forest were some of the most vivid and engaging I have read in a long while. Unfortunately, the "thriller" side of the plot never really engaged me fully and I found myself wishing for more tension and forward momentum on that front. I stayed for the adjectives.
Feb 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mexican cartels and bear poaching combine for an exciting mix! Maybe not as much action as you would hope for, and the ending felt a little too neat, but the writing gets its hooks in you. In particular the scenes in the forest as the main character 'becomes one with nature' were really well done.
Cherie Bush
Jun 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Enemies new and old interfere with Rice Moore.'s quiet life. A well-written thriller.
Travis Fortney
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
This one has a great set-up. Rice Moore is a scientist with a dark past--he and a girlfriend funded ecological studies along the Mexico/US border by smuggling small packages southward for a cartel, she turned DEA informant and was summarily brutally murdered while he spent a year in a Mexican prison, after which he hunted down and murdered his girlfriend's killer. At the novel's outset, Rice has landed a job as a caretaker at a remote nature preserve. The reason for his employment has perhaps mo ...more
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