Bearskin by James A. McLaughlin


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 of a bear killed on the grounds, the quiet solitude he’s so desp...

Details Bearskin

Release DateJun 12th, 2018
GenreFiction, Thriller, Mystery, Crime, Suspense

Reviews Bearskin

  • Jeffrey Keeten
    ”The giant trees were like dormant gods, vibrating with something he couldn’t name, not quite sentience, each one different from the others, each telling its own centuries-long story. On the forest floor, chestnut logs dead since the blight had rotted into chest-high berms soft with thick mosses, whispering quietly. Something called out and he turned to face a looming tulip tree, gnarled and bent like an old man, hollowed out by rot, lightnin...
  • Tammy
    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...
  • karen
    NOW AVAILABLE!!!this is a fine, meaty debut. it’s grit lit literary enough to drop words like “extispicy,” but gritty enough to include an anecdote* that made me, long leatherskinned against book violence, wince. it takes place deep in the virginia part of the appalachians, where a man named rice moore has been working for six months, appreciating the seclusion of his new home:No other human being lived within miles. Rice presided alone ove...
  • Tammy
    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 ab...
  • Suzanne
    This was an awesome read. I live in Virginia so I had the added bonus that a good part of the book takes place there. I have had an odd fascination with bears. I actually self research interaction between bears and humans in my spare time because they fascinate me (I’m a research psychologist so I like to do research even in my spare time). So the bear aspect of the book was sad to read about (the hunting dogs also) but the different plots goin...
  • Pat
    A debut book. The storyline contained a great idea for a book. Rice worked for one of the Mexican cartels, turned on the cartel and staged his own disappearance to a remote game preserve to save himself. He finds peace in the preserve but that is interrupted when poachers begin killing bears.Now, that is a simplified summary of the book, far more complex and yes, there is violence which is what I wanted. I wanted something like 'Sicario' to happe...
  • Erica
    This is not quite what I'd expected.It's a genre blend of drug cartel thriller, Appalachian grit-lit with some paranormal/folkloric realism, and redemption tale but it's not mixed so well as to create a single, seamless story; there are definite chunks of genre floating throughout. Choking hazards abound.Rice Moore/Rick Morton, 34, is on the run from Mexican drug cartels and is hiding as a caretaker for a large private preserve in the backwoods o...
  • B.A. Brock
    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 s...
  • Michael
    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, unt...
  • Fred Shaw
    Bearskin by James A. McLauglinRice Monroe is the caretaker at a privately funded nature preserve in the Virginia Appalachian mountains. He is taking over the job previously held by a Virginia Tech biology professor, Sara Birkeland. Rice has changed his name, and wants to remain below the radar because of his recent incarceration in Arizona. He was caught trafficking unlawful substances between Mexico and the US. The drug cartel tried unsuccessful...
  • Andy Weston
    McLaughlin’s novel is set in rural Appalachian hills of Virginia and about illegal bear poaching. It’s one of a new batch of ‘eco-thrillers’ that seem to be marketed for this summer of reading, let’s hope it doesn’t become a new genre. Last week I read Soil by Jamie Kornegay , just slightly better, but still falling into the same traps as this. Let me state clearly that I am a passionate environmentalist, and support pretty much anyt...
  • KDV
    Gritty-ish Appalachian thriller with just enough violence and a lot of beautiful nature writing. My sweet spot for sure. When I saw reviews refer to "dream-like" writing I was almost spooked away from this one, but I wound up really enjoying the main character's fugue states -- they are peppered in there and quite effective. Excellent book.
  • Mark
    This is a terrific debut thriller set in Virginia Appalachia. Rugged, ecological and well-written.
  • Lou
    There is a need for preservation, for self, for forest preserve, and for Bear. This narrative is tight and without wavering, on point, right in the story, having the reader in the scene and developments in hunt of the bear killer, suited in a a ghillie suite. A good mystery in Appalachian wilderness, a bad men hot on a mans trail kind of redemption tale. Pair this up with No Country For Old Men by Cormac McCarthy and recent debut of Rough Anima...
  • Lillian
    Wow!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 realist...
  • Kristin
    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 “B...
  • Sandy
    4.5 starsRice takes his job seriously. He’s taken the assignment of being the caretaker of the Turk Mountain Preserve for the isolation and the security that he hopes he will find up in the mountain ranges. He’s content doing physical labor and making his rounds, until a mushroom hunter finds his way onto the property. This hunter shows Rice the remains of the bear. Killed illegally on the protected property, Rice sets off on a mission to fin...
  • David
    The world around me disappeared as I read this book. I read roughly the first 20% on a Friday night and finished it in Saturday, primarily on my back patio on a beautiful summer day. Normally when I'm sitting out there, birds and squirrels won't come anywhere near me and yet I would occasionally look up, somewhat disoriented, and see them very close (at which point they'd run/fly away). I think they could tell I was far away (in a forest in weste...
  • Chaitra
    This was a lot more fun than I thought it would be - I picked it up just because it was available and I hadn’t reached my card limit at the library. It’s a debut which makes it even more impressive. It’s not easy to juggle the cartel, bear poachers, hostile neighbors, old growth forest that is decidedly creepy, feds running a sting operation, sleep deprived hallucinations that might be aided by suspect mushrooms handed by a mushroom picker ...
  • Frosty61
    4.5 stars. I loved the rugged setting and the emotions the writer evokes with his vivid description of the forest, the mountains, and the natural world of predator and prey. There's a lot of action, great dialogue and a feeling of unrest throughout. Main character Rice Moore, forest preserve caretaker, attempts to catch bear poachers while keeping his whereabouts unknown to a Mexican drug cartel who'd like to see him silenced. Hostile locals, hau...
  • Shane Douglas Keene
    Mini review: This book is fucking outstanding! Full review coming to Ink Heist soon.
  • Vaelin
    4.5 stars rounded up for a fantastic debut novelThe combination of the protagonist hiding out in a nature preserve in rural Virginia and a mexican cartel betrayal backstory worked perfectly as nature and drug cartels are two of my favourite reading themes.The story itself was a slow burn but a highly satisfying read the descriptions of the landscape, flora and fauna alone are worth the price of admission.I'm sad that this is a standalone story bu...
  • Jenny Jo Weir
    This book was awesome! I loved the character development and the back story. I loved the unraveling of the plot and the progress followed throughout the whole thing. Very well put together and entertaining. I seriously enjoyed this one. Looking forward to more from this author.
  • Barbara
    I liked many of the aspects of this book including the basic plot line and setting - a young man, trying to hide from his past, takes the job of caretaker at a secluded, private nature preserve in the mountains of Virginia. But something wasn't sitting right with me and I kept putting it down and then picking it up again. Forced my way through with a bit of skimming so I had to take off a star because it was such an effort.
  • Ti.Me
    A former drug mule hides out from a Mexican cartel with a new name and a job in far-off, rural Virginia as mountain range caretaker. He frequently has trouble distinguishing hallucination from reality as he searches for bear poachers and the men who'd hurt his predecessor. I was beyond bored most of the way through, and kept putting the book down in favor of other entertainment. 3 stars.
  • Krissy Neddo
    Reminds me of CJ Box and Joseph Heywood books and Nick Petrie's Burning Bright. The border crossing chapters remind me of Tricia Field's Josie Grey series. Not an edge of your seat thriller. If you want a backwoods thriller, read The Marsh King's Daughter by Dionne.Looking forward to the next book!
  • Nancy McFarlane
    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 ...