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4.0 out of 5 starsUnique outdoor twist(s)...with one drawback
Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2018
This was a very interesting and good read, and unique captivating twist on an 'outdoor' murder mystery . It is very authentic in terms of Glacier Park and other locations of events and so forth throughout the book (using actual place names, roads, trails, etc.) and almost feels like non-fiction at times, which is fine with me. A lot of twists and turns in the story and a lot of characters and names to keep track of. The doses of personal conflict in play in the story add to it as well. A good book for guys too. My only negative, having lived in the area for some time and being familiar with Flathead Valley towns and Glacier, is that it often portrays the area in a negative light. Several times while reading it I paused and asked myself 'does the author have something against the area?', which was distracting. The area is not idyllic and has its problems like any other, but it is not completely drug-infested, low-life, and gloomy as the author often portrays it - minus one (almost 2) star because of this last comment.
2.0 out of 5 starsNothing ruins a potentially good book faster than poor editing
Reviewed in the United States on September 24, 2017
I agree with the other reviewers' comments about editing. Nothing ruins a potentially good book faster than poor editing. The story plodded along in many areas; it didn't have the edge-of-your-seat that a good mystery/thriller has. As a native Montanan living in the Glacier National Park area, I love the setting. Its clear, however, that the author is from out of state...her disdain for local people and their ways is blatant, which is why I only give it 2 stars.
Reviewed in the United States on February 16, 2017
I read several books a week. It takes something special to impress me. This story and the writers style impressed me greatly. The story line is fantastic with well thought out and well developed characters. The style of writing is first rate. No "fluff" added to offer an explanation of what's taking place. The author allows the characters to tell the story and the intensity never lets up. From page one until the end, it's a real rollercoaster ride. Add to all this the beautiful description of Glacier and the surrounding area. I felt I was right back there again and it was all so authentic and real not only in description, but in feeling as well. This is a first rate story. Don't miss it. The price of the book was a little steep, but like so much in life, you get what you pay for. This was worth every cent.
As a frequent visitor and user of Glacier National Park I have been drawn to it's combination of beauty, wildlife, violent weather swings and the intangible sense of unknown mystery. The Wild Inside captures the human, wildlife, and geographical equations of those living in close proximity to this national treasure. Other reviewers have introduced some of the initial themes in the rich character development. They hint at what follows in this beautifully written mystery taking place in and around the park. I believe you will greatly enjoy this book and eagerly await her soon to be published next novel.
The book setting kept me reading as it is a very familiar place. My husband was born and grew up in Kalispell and we lived there for several years. His family is still prominent in the valley. I mention this because I appreciated the accuracy of Ms Carson's descriptions of the valley and Glacier Park. Advice is to write what you know and she certainly did. I gave it four stars only because her descriptions were sometimes a bit lengthy and, while I was there with her, I wondered if others not familiar with the area would find them too long. Otherwise she did a wonderful job combining a great and unusual mystery with the psychological story of the main character. I judge mysteries by whether I can figure them out early. Had to keep reading to the end. Well written, accurate portrayal of the main character's angst. And the characters are beautifully defined. A bit longer than necessary but well worth it. Will recommend to several people. Looking forward to reading her other novels. Way to go on your first!
Even though I have driven through many states in America I have never gone through Montana I don't know anything about grizzly bears either But this book has given me some well researched info about each I think it's such a good book that I have sent copies to several friends !!I'm looking forward to hearing from them. But more than hearing their opinions I'm looking forward to Carbo's next novel
5.0 out of 5 starsA story to ponder long after it's finished
Reviewed in the United States on July 4, 2015
I enjoy reading mysteries and I love the great outdoors. Christine Carbo’s book blends them together seamlessly. Set in Glacier National Park, she tells a tale of human foibles, tragedies and occasional joys. As a murder suspense story, it lives up to its billing. I started it on a rainy day at a cabin in the mountains of West Virginia, then read into the nights afterwards. It was hard to put down. It seemed that everyone had some level of motive to kill and many were simply flawed individuals. I was sure I had the killer identified but not so. She understands psychology and how underlying anger, resentment, fear and hate can drive someone to do the unthinkable; perhaps in the right settings any of us could do the same. And throughout the book, you feel as though you are in the park as she effortlessly describes the mountains, the trees, the birds, the flowers - never in a geography book way but blending it into the story itself. And we learn that a trauma in life can have ramifications many years down the road; ramifications that can have both positive and negative connotations. A story to ponder long after it's finished.
5.0 out of 5 starsCharacter-centric crime writing from a terrific new talent, set against a spectacular backdrop.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 22, 2018
Recently I had my first taste of Montana author Christine Carbo's crime storytelling, and I enjoyed it so much I immediately ordered the first other books in her series. Starting back at the beginning with this, her debut, it's clear Carbo hit the ground running with her Montana mysteries. This is a really terrific read, with a unique and engaging protagonist - a federal agent specialising in crimes within the national parks who's never fully recovered from an horrific childhood camping experience.
Carbo brings an incredibly strong sense of the rural and small-town Montana environment to her tale, infusing an exciting crime storyline with plenty of local colour and flavour. She has a keen eye not just for the natural environment but also the people who populate it. Wild magnificence and not-so-scenic communities. There's a palpable sense of the harshness and danger that lurks among the beauty and space. The dark corners and broken lives among those who live on the old frontier.
The murder victim, a man left duct-taped to a tree in Glacier National Park, shot but left alive and then mauled to death by a grizzly bear, is local meth addict Victor Lance. His habit is not unique in the area, and Special Agent Ted Systead has to look into the burgeoning rural drug scene as well as many other avenues of inquiry to try and work out who could have left Vance to his horrific end.
The buddy cop relationship between Systead and Glacier Park police officer Monty Harris has an interesting dynamic that feels fresh. Systead may be the central figure in the book, but all the characters, big and small, have a good sense of depth. Each has a past that comes to bear, each feels like a real person, none are just pieces merely being moved around the storyboard by Carbo.
This is a texture, layered mystery novel that is about much more than just finding a killer. Carbo shows some serious writing chops, particularly given this is her debut. She brings the Montana setting to strong life, and digs into the internal and external worlds of her characters. THE WILD INSIDE is character-centric crime writing from a terrific new talent, set against a spectacular backdrop.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 25, 2020
A homicide detective investigates a brutal killing in a wildlife reserve in Montana. The whole thing is rather far-fetched with little or no attempt to hold my attention. Perhaps there are far too many suspects to make this credible, and, possible spoiler alert, the least likely one the guilty party.