Right off, we meet Dr. Daphne Valentine (I love good names in a story, and hers ranks right up there.) as she arrives at her new job as a ranger in a national park in South Dakota. She’s left Seattle under difficult professional and romantic circumstances, which are hinted at, but not spelled out. Thus, we get plenty of suspense in the opening paragraphs.
Daphne no sooner sets about cleaning the cabin she’s been assigned than the title character appears, big and black and licking his chops. The wolf hangs at the edge of the clearing while Daphne tries futilely to make mind contact with him, a power with which we’re already familiar from her conversations with her little Yorkie, Harvey (another nice name, especially if you’re familiar with that famous Jimmy Stewart rabbit.) By page two, then, with hardly a shred of cumbersome back-story, the stage is set.
From that point on, action and juicy romantic and paranormal complications tumble forth at an exciting pace. I won’t play the spoiler with details, and I do have a slight quibble in that I thought some of the conflicts get solved a bit too quickly and simply. Whether you agree about that or not, though, I can guarantee you’ll have hardly a moment to catch your breath throughout Abbel’s tightly-crafted tale. Order it up and drink it down.