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The best thing about The Wolf Road is the voice. Main character and first-person narrator Elka is one badass bitch. She wasn't raised by wolves, but might have been better off if she had been.

Abandoned by her parents after an apocalyptic event, she grew up rough in the woods with a man she called Trapper. He taught her all the survival skills she needed, and maybe a few she didn't. When Elka learns Trapper might not be quite the father figure she thought he was, she lights out on her own on a quest to find her birth parents.

This is a book that feels very much like a Western even though it's set in a dystopian future laid waste by nuclear disaster. It has that brutal but righteous sense of justice about it. There's a lot of adventure, danger, and intrigue, and with just a few hiccups, the action moves along at a good clip.

I haven't had the patience for anything too long, too deep, or too literary for a while now, so I was in the market for a book that would not only keep me turning pages, but give me a reason to pick the book back up when Netflix was calling my name. Elka's dark secrets and rough-as-sandpaper sensibility kept reeling me back in.

With regards to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for the review copy. On sale now!

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I almost abandoned this book in the early going, and now it’s one of my favorites of the year. I can’t believe how close I came to missing out.

For whatever reason, Here Comes the Sun was a really slow starter for me. The characters all clearly have secrets, but they are slow to reveal them—so slow, I wondered if we’d ever find out for sure what happened in each of their pasts. But then all the proverbial other shoes start dropping, and from that point on, it’s an all-consuming storm of resentment, greed, and betrayal.

It’s a family tragedy Shakespeare could have written. Delores has two daughters, Margot and Thandi, born over ten years apart. Delores and Margot have major baggage between them, but one thing they can agree on is that they want better for Thandi, and they throw all their energy into providing for her. Margot works the front desk in a fancy Montego Bay hotel, a job which positions her perfectly for her other job as a prostitute. Margot is pragmatic; she tells herself it’s all worth it so that Thandi can go to a good school and become a doctor. But Thandi might have other ideas about her future—and trust me, that brewing conflict is just the tip of the iceberg with these women.

Early on, this book felt like another deep character study—which it is—but it also turned out to be absolutely pitch-perfect, plot-wise. This summer I have been craving good plot development like chocolate. If something isn’t happening to advance the story, I’m tapping my foot and sighing loudly. Once the scene-setting and character-introducing is over and the shocking revelations start rolling in one after another, you’ll be hooked until the bitter end. (And I use the word “bitter” VERY deliberately. I have a feeling those last couple chapters will haunt me for some time.)

My one regret is that I went with the ebook version instead of the audio. I would love to hear what a talented voice actor could do with the musical patois the dialogue is written in. Nicole Dennis-Benn is at the top of her form, even as a debut novelist. Highest possible recommendation.

With regards to Liveright and NetGalley for the review copy. On sale now!