Bill Reed manages a wildlife sanctuary in rural Idaho, caring for injured animals - raptors, a wolf, and his beloved bear, Majer, among them - that are unable to survive in the wild. Seemingly rid of his troubled past, Bill hopes to marry the local veterinarian and live a quiet life together, the promise of which is threatened when a childhood friend is released from prison. Suddenly forced to confront the secrets of his criminal youth, Bill battles fiercely to preserve the shelter that protects these wounded animals and to keep hidden his turbulent, even dangerous, history.
Alternating between past and present, Christian Kiefer contrasts the wreckage of Bill's crime-ridden years in Reno, Nevada, with the elusive promise of a peaceful future. In finely sculpted prose imaginatively at odds with the harsh, volatile world Kiefer evokes, The Animals builds powerfully toward the revelation of Bill's defining betrayal - and the drastic lengths Bill goes to in order to escape the consequences.
The past catches up to Bill Reed who thought he'd escaped the consequences of his youthful past in Reno, NV by moving to rural Idaho and assuming a new identity. The book travels back and forth from his present peacefulness and hope to the major mistakes and desperate acts of his youth, as the novel leads up to a confrontation between past and present. The current day setting of a sanctuary for injured wildlife run by Reed nicely contrasts with his difficult environment as a boy who lost his dad and older brother (to tragedy) which led ultimately to his rather serious transgressions.
In attractive and often powerful prose, the story reveals how the natural surroundings of one's youth can lead to mistakes and the decision to use any means necessary to survive, a choice that can inevitably harm others beyond repair.
This rewarding novel seemed more literary than the action-trumps-character of many best-selling action/suspense novels. The story captivated my interest from the start and included a highly suspenseful final quarter, and Christian Kiefer built the conflict up to a crescendo prior to intense action sequences that I think are up there with best of the suspense genre.
I so enjoyed this novel, which I listened to a few months back, I can't help but expect even more from Mr. Kiefer's next novel.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
Kiefer delivers a beautifully bleak story of one man's rebirth from a past life of crime and drugs...and how his love for wounded animals ultimately redeems him. It is so well written and there is one chapter written from an animal's pov that is so haunting and spot on, it should make you hug your pet and inspire you to be a better human being.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?
No, I wouldn't recommend this book. The story dragged and almost none of the characters were likeable.
What was most disappointing about Christian Kiefer’s story?
The main character. I was so disappointed in him from the beginning to the end. I feel as though nothing had changed, he didn't grow and become better, he was the same, self absorbed, and pathetic. I was looking for Jason Statham with a conscience. Instead I got this spineless man with no morals. I was just disappointed in him completely.
What about Richard Poe’s performance did you like?
He did bring the characters to life, and worked with what he was given. His voice didn't annoy me. I'd like to hear him read something else.
Did The Animals inspire you to do anything?
Any additional comments?
This was a book club selection. I voted for this book out of the selections offered. I regret that decision. But, the purpose of the book club is to branch out from your usual and try new authors. I've found some great books this way, this just wasn't one of them.