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A haunting crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a man who finds himself at odds with the dark heart of the wild—and the even darker heart of human nature. It was a clear night in Glacier National Park. Fourteen-year-old Ted Systead and his father were camping beneath the rugged peaks and starlit skies when something unimaginable happened: a grizzly bear attacked T A haunting crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a man who finds himself at odds with the dark heart of the wild—and the even darker heart of human nature. It was a clear night in Glacier National Park. Fourteen-year-old Ted Systead and his father were camping beneath the rugged peaks and starlit skies when something unimaginable happened: a grizzly bear attacked Ted’s father and dragged him to his death. Now, twenty years later, as Special Agent for the Department of the Interior, Ted gets called back to investigate a crime that mirrors the horror of that night. Except this time, the victim was tied to a tree before the mauling. Ted teams up with one of the park officers—a man named Monty, whose pleasant exterior masks an all-too-vivid knowledge of the hazardous terrain surrounding them. Residents of the area turn out to be suspicious of outsiders and less than forthcoming. Their intimate connection to the wild forces them to confront nature, and their fellow man, with equal measures of reverence and ruthlessness. As the case progresses with no clear answers, more than human life is at stake—including that of the majestic creature responsible for the attack. Ted’s search for the truth ends up leading him deeper into the wilderness than he ever imagined, on the trail of a killer, until he reaches a shocking and unexpected personal conclusion. As intriguing and alluring as bestselling crime novels by C.J. Box, Louise Penny, and William Kent Krueger, as atmospheric and evocative as the nature writing of John Krakauer and Cheryl Strayed, The Wild Inside is a gripping debut novel about the perilous, unforgiving intersection between man and nature.


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A haunting crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a man who finds himself at odds with the dark heart of the wild—and the even darker heart of human nature. It was a clear night in Glacier National Park. Fourteen-year-old Ted Systead and his father were camping beneath the rugged peaks and starlit skies when something unimaginable happened: a grizzly bear attacked T A haunting crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a man who finds himself at odds with the dark heart of the wild—and the even darker heart of human nature. It was a clear night in Glacier National Park. Fourteen-year-old Ted Systead and his father were camping beneath the rugged peaks and starlit skies when something unimaginable happened: a grizzly bear attacked Ted’s father and dragged him to his death. Now, twenty years later, as Special Agent for the Department of the Interior, Ted gets called back to investigate a crime that mirrors the horror of that night. Except this time, the victim was tied to a tree before the mauling. Ted teams up with one of the park officers—a man named Monty, whose pleasant exterior masks an all-too-vivid knowledge of the hazardous terrain surrounding them. Residents of the area turn out to be suspicious of outsiders and less than forthcoming. Their intimate connection to the wild forces them to confront nature, and their fellow man, with equal measures of reverence and ruthlessness. As the case progresses with no clear answers, more than human life is at stake—including that of the majestic creature responsible for the attack. Ted’s search for the truth ends up leading him deeper into the wilderness than he ever imagined, on the trail of a killer, until he reaches a shocking and unexpected personal conclusion. As intriguing and alluring as bestselling crime novels by C.J. Box, Louise Penny, and William Kent Krueger, as atmospheric and evocative as the nature writing of John Krakauer and Cheryl Strayed, The Wild Inside is a gripping debut novel about the perilous, unforgiving intersection between man and nature.

30 review for The Wild Inside

  1. 5 out of 5

    James Thane

    The Wild Inside is an excellent debut novel with a unique and very sympathetic protagonist. As a fourteen-year-old boy in the Fall of 1987, Ted Systead went camping with his father in Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana. While the two of them slept that night, a large grizzly bear attacked their tent, dragged Systead’s father away and mauled him to death. Fortunately, the bear did not return to attack Ted, but the boy, though physically safe, was very badly traumatized by the episode. Tw The Wild Inside is an excellent debut novel with a unique and very sympathetic protagonist. As a fourteen-year-old boy in the Fall of 1987, Ted Systead went camping with his father in Glacier National Park in northwestern Montana. While the two of them slept that night, a large grizzly bear attacked their tent, dragged Systead’s father away and mauled him to death. Fortunately, the bear did not return to attack Ted, but the boy, though physically safe, was very badly traumatized by the episode. Twenty years later, Ted Systead is still haunted by the events of that night. He now lives in Denver and works as a Special Agent for the Department of the Interior, investigating crimes that occur in the national park system. But when he’s assigned to lead a death investigation in Glacier National Park, he’s forced to confront not only a complex criminal case, but the personal demons he still harbors inside as well. The victim of the crime is a low-life meth addict named Victor Lance. Lance was found duct-taped to a tree in the park and shot. While he was still alive and unable to defend himself, a grizzly bear found him and finished off the job that the killer had left undone. The fact that the death was so horrific, that it occurred in Glacier, and that a grizzly was involved, all hit a bit too close to home for Systead, and at times seem to compromise his ability to function effectively. He’s also hampered by a lack of evidence, by uncooperative witnesses, and by a park supervisor who’s more concerned about avoiding bad publicity than he is in assisting the investigation. But Systead forges ahead, determined to see justice done, no matter the personal and other obstacles that confront him. Carbo, who lives in Whitefish, Montana, obviously knows the park, the surrounding area and the people of the region very well. She’s at her best in describing the great scenic beauty of the park as well as the small and sometimes not-so-scenic communities that surround it. Many of the people of the area are loners, suspicious of outsiders, and are especially wary of federal authorities. Sad to say, there is an ongoing problem with meth and other drugs in northwestern Montana, and Carbo doesn’t shy away from showing us the toll that drug abuse is taking on these people and their communities. The end result is a gripping story that explores both the wilderness of the natural world and that of the human psyche. Readers will finish the book looking forward eagerly to Carbo’s next effort.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caitlin

    Is anyone else suspicious about the number of reviews that include the phrase "debut novel" in the first sentence? I'm very surprised by the high number of good reviews for this book. It is not well written. The dialogue and characters are incredibly cliche and for a book about murder and bear maulings, it really drags. The book has a strong premise—an investigator returns to the national park where his father was mauled and killed by a grizzly bear to solve a similar murder—but it just complete Is anyone else suspicious about the number of reviews that include the phrase "debut novel" in the first sentence? I'm very surprised by the high number of good reviews for this book. It is not well written. The dialogue and characters are incredibly cliche and for a book about murder and bear maulings, it really drags. The book has a strong premise—an investigator returns to the national park where his father was mauled and killed by a grizzly bear to solve a similar murder—but it just completely falls down in execution. I felt like I was reading a very poor rendition of an episode of Justified (no disrespect to that show, it is far more nuanced and articulate than this book). The author spends a lot of time explaining the feelings and interior life of our main character with half-baked metaphors and stale sentiments, while also over-writing the action—i.e., instead of "he got in the car," she'll write "he headed down the driveway on his way to get in the car, then got in." Could have used a good strong edit.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    The Hook I really should keep better notes. Maybe I really ought to give myself a break. I like my reading to be pleasurable and often spontaneous, so, it's ok that I don't know how I happened to pick this book, The Wild Inside but I'm glad I did. If I had to guess, I think the cover probably attracted me. The wilderness setting, and the lone posture of the grizzly in the barren landscape have appeal. You can feel the cold and the sense of foreboding. It's also the first in a series by Christine The Hook I really should keep better notes. Maybe I really ought to give myself a break. I like my reading to be pleasurable and often spontaneous, so, it's ok that I don't know how I happened to pick this book, The Wild Inside but I'm glad I did. If I had to guess, I think the cover probably attracted me. The wilderness setting, and the lone posture of the grizzly in the barren landscape have appeal. You can feel the cold and the sense of foreboding. It's also the first in a series by Christine Carbo. Perhaps that's what caught my eye. If one of my GR friends recommended it all I can say is thank you. The Line - ”We come into the world alone, unlike all who have gone before us; we leave it alone under circumstances peculiar to ourselves. ” The Sinker - Meet Ted Systead, Special Agent for the Department of the Interior. He is called to Glacier National Park to investigate the death of a man duck-taped to a tree. Leaving someone to this fate would be bad enough but the gruesomeness of the crime is soon apparent. The man has been attacked by a grizzly and whether he was alive or dead, it remains to be determined. Certainly not a pretty sight to see. In itself, this death would be hard enough for anyone to stomach, but consider that when Ted was fourteen his father was killed by a grizzly in this same park while on a fishing outing with Ted. Ted managed to live to tell the tale but as would be expected, there is baggage. This is a very descriptive story, not only does the park and its surroundings jump off the page, allowing you to experience the wilderness to its fullest, there are also very well drawn, interesting character studies of the major players to get to know and care about. And the grizzly, so much a part of the story, cannot be forgotten. Though the book was a bit long, I did enjoy every minute of it. It made me want to grab my hat and explore the great outdoors even if I'd prefer a warmer clime. Not for the squeamish; be warned it can be brutal at times. Bring on book two.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Perri

    I love the writing for this atmospheric mystery set in Glacier Natl Park. The pace seems realistic in that things don't happen quickly and require painstaking detective work, false leads, interviewing and follow-up. So, it's not a thriller page-turner, but I was lulled in by the characters,especially the introspective detective, and enchanted by the lonely,empty feel of the wilderness of Montana in the off season.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This book seemed to check all the boxes for me: nature, wildlife, national parks, and mysteries. There aren't enough books in that genre for me. I'll let others summarize the plotline. It held my interest because of its multi-layered dynamics. Everyone had a heavy backstory. It makes one think of the immense weight we carry within from the impact of earlier life situations. We never quite broker the opportunity to set it all down. Christine Carbo has really done her research from all aspects. I di This book seemed to check all the boxes for me: nature, wildlife, national parks, and mysteries. There aren't enough books in that genre for me. I'll let others summarize the plotline. It held my interest because of its multi-layered dynamics. Everyone had a heavy backstory. It makes one think of the immense weight we carry within from the impact of earlier life situations. We never quite broker the opportunity to set it all down. Christine Carbo has really done her research from all aspects. I did find the number of characters to be a bit off-putting. Carbo's story is splayed out like an outstretched hand never giving away any of its secrets until the end. That's why I didn't have the feel for a "suspense" novel. There didn't seem to be the build-up that was expected except for the character of Ted. It was more of a study of human nature and untangling it from its grip on all situations within. It is my hope that Carbo will follow the character of Ted in her next offering. It would make a great series with an abundance of story opportunities as wide as Glacier National Park.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Li'l Owl

    Wow! A brilliant debut novel! I don't ordinarily use the description for a book in writing my reviews but this is such an original story line and setting that I can't describe it any better than the books given introduction. So I'll start with that. A haunting crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a man who finds himself at odds with the dark heart of the wild—and the even darker heart of human nature. It was a clear night in Glacier National Park. Fourteen-year-old Ted Systead and his f Wow! A brilliant debut novel! I don't ordinarily use the description for a book in writing my reviews but this is such an original story line and setting that I can't describe it any better than the books given introduction. So I'll start with that. A haunting crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a man who finds himself at odds with the dark heart of the wild—and the even darker heart of human nature. It was a clear night in Glacier National Park. Fourteen-year-old Ted Systead and his father were camping beneath the rugged peaks and starlit skies when something unimaginable happened: a grizzly bear attacked Ted’s father and dragged him to his death. Now, twenty years later, as Special Agent for the Department of the Interior, Ted gets called back to investigate a crime that mirrors the horror of that night. Except this time, the victim was tied to a tree before the mauling. Ted teams up with one of the park officers—a man named Monty, whose pleasant exterior masks an all-too-vivid knowledge of the hazardous terrain surrounding them. Residents of the area turn out to be suspicious of outsiders and less than forthcoming. Their intimate connection to the wild forces them to confront nature, and their fellow man, with equal measures of reverence and ruthlessness. As the case progresses with no clear answers, more than human life is at stake—including that of the majestic creature responsible for the attack. Ted’s search for the truth ends up leading him deeper into the wilderness than he ever imagined, on the trail of a killer, until he reaches a shocking and unexpected personal conclusion. As intriguing and alluring as bestselling crime novels by C.J. Box, Louise Penny, and William Kent Krueger, as atmospheric and evocative as the nature writing of John Krakauer and Cheryl Strayed, The Wild Inside is a gripping debut novel about the perilous, unforgiving intersection between man and nature. Well, that about sums it up. Christine Carbo has written a brilliant, spellbinding, and chilling debut that left me completely breathless and awestruck! I love Glacier National Park's police officer Monty Harris! I've already started Mortal Fall, the second book in this series! Highly recommended!

  7. 5 out of 5

    ✨Susan✨

    A special agent is sent to the area in Montana, where he grew up as a boy, to solve a murder mystery set in the woods of Glacier National Park. The key players either don't remember him or are unaware of a tragedy he suffered there as a boy. He must find a killer while trying to deal with his old demons, who are again rearing their ugly heads. For me Christine Carbo's caliber of writing is somewhere below C. J. Box but way above Nevada Barr, parts of the story felt like fill. Many suspects kept A special agent is sent to the area in Montana, where he grew up as a boy, to solve a murder mystery set in the woods of Glacier National Park. The key players either don't remember him or are unaware of a tragedy he suffered there as a boy. He must find a killer while trying to deal with his old demons, who are again rearing their ugly heads. For me Christine Carbo's caliber of writing is somewhere below C. J. Box but way above Nevada Barr, parts of the story felt like fill. Many suspects kept me guessing but R.C. Bray's narrative was the hero.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    Nothing wrong with this book- I'm just not into detective-type crime novels. Too many books, too little time to read something that doesn't captivate you. If you like crime novels, check this one out though. Complex male lead with a tragic history that is coming back to haunt him in his current case. Kinda wish I liked this genre more!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Regina

    This is a great debut novel. I will be watching this author! A more fleshed out review closer to release date. But if you enjoy thrillers in wild/natural settings, then this book is for you.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Debbie

    This was definitely a great debut novel. I really couldn't believe that it was a debut. The main character talked about cases in the past that he had handled and I seriously thought it was a sequel to a series. The writing is awesome with a lot of emotion from Ted coming to light. Especially as he was a forest ranger working in forests where there are Grizzlies. This is certainly true dependent on the fact his father was killed by one. I thought the story was pretty good for the most part but th This was definitely a great debut novel. I really couldn't believe that it was a debut. The main character talked about cases in the past that he had handled and I seriously thought it was a sequel to a series. The writing is awesome with a lot of emotion from Ted coming to light. Especially as he was a forest ranger working in forests where there are Grizzlies. This is certainly true dependent on the fact his father was killed by one. I thought the story was pretty good for the most part but there were several times when the author kept letting us into his head that I think slowed down the pace too much. The ending where Ted worked things out in his mind I thought was a weird way to end a mystery book, but it actually worked for me. This was a gruesome crime and there were several instances of gut wrenching crimes that the victim committed, so be prepared for that. I'm talking cruelty to animals, so beware of that. It wasn't enough to have me wrenching, but it did make me dislike the victim even more. This was a very well written book with great character development and a suspect who you will never guess did it. Thanks Atria and Net Galley for this free e-galley in exchange for an honest review. I truly enjoyed it and definitely recommend it.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deanna

    3ish stars, sort of. It’s not really the “why would you even” quality of a 2-star. But I’m waffly about the 3 stars. It’s a not-quite kind of book. Slow, and that’s not automatically bad. But this was the kind of slow that left me waiting for a solid hook that never came. There’s a protagonist who isn’t exactly flat or predictable, but he never felt unique or dimensional enough to carry me out of the work of reading and away into a story world. I appreciated realism in the plot, and accepted the 3ish stars, sort of. It’s not really the “why would you even” quality of a 2-star. But I’m waffly about the 3 stars. It’s a not-quite kind of book. Slow, and that’s not automatically bad. But this was the kind of slow that left me waiting for a solid hook that never came. There’s a protagonist who isn’t exactly flat or predictable, but he never felt unique or dimensional enough to carry me out of the work of reading and away into a story world. I appreciated realism in the plot, and accepted the gritty dregs of human functioning aspect, but eventually found that depressing. The writing features regular, minor bleed-through of first-timer mis-steps, over-tells, and signs of a not-quite-developed ear. Not awful at all, but it adds more distraction to the work of trying to get into the story. Didn’t hate it, but it didn’t quite work for me. It’s the kind of read I’ll likely forget a short while after I finish this sentence and distract myself with something to counter the depressive flavor of the story. But there’s potential here, and I wouldn’t refuse to look at the author again.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    Just what I needed to read during the holidays, an escape to Glacier National Park with an excellent guide. There’s a grisly murder involving a grizzly bear, during which the bear ingests some evidence. Ted Systead, who is called in to investigate, had grown up in the area and also lost his father to a Grizzly attack when he was a teen. The latest victim is not exactly an upstanding citizen and there are several people who are potential suspects, but few clues. Ted’s investigation circles aroun Just what I needed to read during the holidays, an escape to Glacier National Park with an excellent guide. There’s a grisly murder involving a grizzly bear, during which the bear ingests some evidence. Ted Systead, who is called in to investigate, had grown up in the area and also lost his father to a Grizzly attack when he was a teen. The latest victim is not exactly an upstanding citizen and there are several people who are potential suspects, but few clues. Ted’s investigation circles around the victim’s relatives, former girlfriends, and his drug dealers,but seems to be going nowhere as everyone waits for the caged bear to do his business and the park administration leans on him for some results while trying to spin the event into nothing more than a friendly park blip. Meanwhile, Ted has to deal with his bear memories and bear fears and it brings out a pile of anxiety and regret. Much here about the lives, habits, and habitat of Grizzly bears, all woven into a human story in the dramatic and sometimes humble environs of the park.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Randi

    I enjoyed this book for the dark chilling atmosphere, rich inner dialogue, and beautiful natural setting of Glacier National Park. It still took me longer to finish than I'd have liked, which now occurs to me as a funny similarity to the detective’s slow pace in actually solving the case. (which was not just due to my sluggish reading of it since his slow solving pace was also observed by others in the book) The only thing that could have made this book awesome was if the leading character was a I enjoyed this book for the dark chilling atmosphere, rich inner dialogue, and beautiful natural setting of Glacier National Park. It still took me longer to finish than I'd have liked, which now occurs to me as a funny similarity to the detective’s slow pace in actually solving the case. (which was not just due to my sluggish reading of it since his slow solving pace was also observed by others in the book) The only thing that could have made this book awesome was if the leading character was a woman instead. The book was written by one and some of the character’s observations just seemed to me at times that it could easily have been from a woman’s perspective. I wonder why the author chose to make the character a man? Was it just easier? This made me feel a kind of loss for a potentially super interesting avenue to explore: how a woman would handle such a male dominated position as a homicide detective in national parks. I also wonder how dark Montana really is. The book says that near Glacier there are four seasons: almost winter, winter, still winter, and road construction. Minus the road construction, it sounds perfection to me. also, the “endless grey throughout so many months of the year.” YES. One of my favorite descriptive scenes: “I continued having trouble sleeping and would often find myself lying awake in the chilled cabin, the tip of my nose cold and the covers pulled high. I could hear every sound Glacier had to offer: the wind caught in the fireplace fluke, an owl screeching, the scuffling sound of deer hooves crossing through fallen leaves, an intermittent high whistle of a cow-elk call or a lower, deeper, bull-elk bugle, a train passing by in West Glacier and an occasional honk of a vehicle from Highway 2 in the distance.”

  14. 5 out of 5

    Deb

    Ted Systead is a detective working for the Department of the Interior. His agency is called into to aid the national park rangers and local police when homicide occurs in a park. His current case takes him back to Glacier National Park, a place he both loves and fears. As a young teenager he and his father went camping. Ted was traumatized when his father is mauled to death during the night by a grizzly bear. His investigation into another grizzly involved death brings his deepest fears to the s Ted Systead is a detective working for the Department of the Interior. His agency is called into to aid the national park rangers and local police when homicide occurs in a park. His current case takes him back to Glacier National Park, a place he both loves and fears. As a young teenager he and his father went camping. Ted was traumatized when his father is mauled to death during the night by a grizzly bear. His investigation into another grizzly involved death brings his deepest fears to the surface, threatening his objectivity. The plot was compelling, and the attention to setting details created a vivid picture of the park. I liked the complexity of the main character, and the development of the relationship between Ted and his temporary partner. I am looking forward to the next book in the series!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Shanna K

    Please don't waste your precious time on this book. I'm honestly not sure how it has received so many good reviews. I thought it poorly written and there were several spelling and grammar errors. The characters were not well developed and everything about them was cliché. The author used way too many adjectives to describe every single thing, including the mundane. Around chapter 8 I couldn't stand it anymore so I skipped several chapters ahead to find out the ending. Surprisingly, I found that Please don't waste your precious time on this book. I'm honestly not sure how it has received so many good reviews. I thought it poorly written and there were several spelling and grammar errors. The characters were not well developed and everything about them was cliché. The author used way too many adjectives to describe every single thing, including the mundane. Around chapter 8 I couldn't stand it anymore so I skipped several chapters ahead to find out the ending. Surprisingly, I found that I hadn't missed much. As soon as I found "who did it" I stopped reading the book and deleted it from my Kindle. Good riddance.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Donna

    I liked this book. It is the debut novel of this author. That was impressive because she didn't pull at any of my pet peeves. This was an evenly paced story that moved along. The MC was very personable and had a great back story. He was creatively thought out. The ending was tied up neatly, if that is a must for you. So overall, 3 stars. I will keep a look out for this author in the future.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Annet

    This is just the book for me, I love Glacier, have camped there several times...and... met with grizzly bears during hikes... scary. But Glacier is just a beautiful, wild park.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    I thoroughly enjoyed listening to "The Wild Inside", the 1st book in Christine Carbo's Glacier Mystery series.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth☮

    What drew me to this book is the setting: Glacier National Park in Montana. The story circles around a murder/bear mauling and Special Agent for the Department of the Interior, Ted Systead, is sent to investigate. Ted is dealing with some demons of his own which makes the attack and the setting important. I liked the development of the story, although it dragged in some parts. I stuck with the book and ultimately felt like the ending tied things up neatly. I will continue in the series and see w What drew me to this book is the setting: Glacier National Park in Montana. The story circles around a murder/bear mauling and Special Agent for the Department of the Interior, Ted Systead, is sent to investigate. Ted is dealing with some demons of his own which makes the attack and the setting important. I liked the development of the story, although it dragged in some parts. I stuck with the book and ultimately felt like the ending tied things up neatly. I will continue in the series and see what I think.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Pat

    "A haunting crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a man who finds himself at odds with the dark heart of the wild - and the even darker heart of human nature." These words from the book's synopsis had me hooked. When Ted Systead was 14 he was camping in Glacier Park with his father when a grizzly bear dragged his father from the tent and to his death. This horrific tragedy left an indelible mark on Ted. Twenty years later he is a homicide detective with the Department of the Interior whi "A haunting crime novel set in Glacier National Park about a man who finds himself at odds with the dark heart of the wild - and the even darker heart of human nature." These words from the book's synopsis had me hooked. When Ted Systead was 14 he was camping in Glacier Park with his father when a grizzly bear dragged his father from the tent and to his death. This horrific tragedy left an indelible mark on Ted. Twenty years later he is a homicide detective with the Department of the Interior which has jurisdiction over some matters in national parks - who knew? He is based in Denver but covers the whole north west region. He is sent back to Glacier Park to investigate the death of a man by mauling (trigger alert for Ted eh)? Only this one is a homicide as the man was tightly taped to a tree. It's a jurisdictional mess but they manage to kind of work together. This whole bear thing has got Ted very uncomfortable though. It was a good story and beautifully written but it just didn't grab me. The pace was very slow and the aforementioned jurisdictional issues took up too many pages (yawn, I just didn't care about that). I also found Ted's character to be too morose and bad tempered for my liking, this guy's glass was never half full. The victim was by all accounts a scumbag, universally disliked, so the potential suspect pool was huge and the investigation dragged on while Ted grumped around. It was a bit of a downer really. In a way I'm sorry I didn't like it more but there you have it.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    Yeah, not bad. Not as suspenseful as it purports to be, but a fairly chewy story of a guy who as a teenager had his father eaten by a grizzly right beside him, and now investigates a curious instance of murder by bear mauling while also trying to come to terms with his issues. It's not very polished and there are some issues with characterisation: stock melodrama villain who almost twirls his mustache, all the guys doing some macho thing vying for position beginning with literally sizing each oth Yeah, not bad. Not as suspenseful as it purports to be, but a fairly chewy story of a guy who as a teenager had his father eaten by a grizzly right beside him, and now investigates a curious instance of murder by bear mauling while also trying to come to terms with his issues. It's not very polished and there are some issues with characterisation: stock melodrama villain who almost twirls his mustache, all the guys doing some macho thing vying for position beginning with literally sizing each other up (maybe this is meant to be some parallel to what bears do but it just seems amateurish here), and rather a lot of reliance on descriptions of haircuts and clothing, and as this is rural Montana there is frankly not much difference between them all. Also there are long-winded explanations of police procedure and national park bureaucracy which contribute little... BUT the nature writing is fresh and lovely, the story is adequately gripping and the community characterisation (as opposed to individuals) is convincing. I learned some things about hibernation too. Worth a couple of hours if you fancy the setting.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Paris (kerbytejas)

    Moving this to DNF - 8chapters in and the story is just to slow to progress. What could be an exciting plot is turning out to be boring no stars assigned

  23. 4 out of 5

    Carla Johnson-Hicks

    Ted Systead .is a Special Agent for the Department of the Interior, When he was fourteen years old, he and his father were camping in Glacier National Park, when a grizzly bear attacked Ted’s father and dragged him to his death. Now, twenty years later, he has been called in to solve a murder and bear mauling. Through flashbacks, we learn the past story, but they do not hijack the present day mystery. Up against the Parks Police Board who do not want to hold the bear until the investigation is o Ted Systead .is a Special Agent for the Department of the Interior, When he was fourteen years old, he and his father were camping in Glacier National Park, when a grizzly bear attacked Ted’s father and dragged him to his death. Now, twenty years later, he has been called in to solve a murder and bear mauling. Through flashbacks, we learn the past story, but they do not hijack the present day mystery. Up against the Parks Police Board who do not want to hold the bear until the investigation is over, Ted is against the clock. Partnered up with a rookie investigator from the Parks Police named Monty, Ted is surprised at how much knowledge he has. The crime is gruesome and there are not a lot of clues. Ted is dogged in his investigation and questions everyone who knew the victim, several times in some cases, until he finally figures it all out. As we learn more about the victim, it is hard to feel sorry for him, he is a despicable person, but no one, should take a life. Carbo lives in Whitefish, Montana and it is obvious by her writing that she knows the park and surrounding area very well. Her writing is very descriptive and I can picture the park and small communities. The setting brings us a lonely, empty feel of the wilderness of Montana in the off season. This story is an atmospheric mystery with a slower pace, making it seem very realistic. It takes painstaking detective work, false leads, interviewing and follow-up to get to the bottom of this mystery. It is not a thriller or suspenseful story, it is a mystery, that is character driven. With the main characters being an introspective detective, and his partner being a newbie in the field, there are a lot of scenes that involve interviewing. Many of the people of the area are loners, suspicious of outsiders, and are especially wary of federal authorities. The story has a meth epidemic and addictions as one storyline and suffice it to say, Christine Carbo does not mince words when she describes the toll that addiction brings to families and communities. The mystery was solved in a satisfactory way, but it is easy to see how and why crimes like this happen. Overall, I was pleased with this story and will look for others by this author. I listened to the audiobook and it took me awhile to enjoy the narrator. He has a very dry voice and read with very little emotion. When he was reading female characters, there was little change in his voice, but I was able to determine when it was a female speaking vs a male. I am not sure if I will listen to another by this narrator.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Craig Sisterson

    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 experien 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.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Banner

    The picture of the bear on the cover sold me on this book. I know, "Don't judge a book by its cover". But the bear looks so ominous, the way he stares right at you, maybe a little off to the side. He could kill you if he wanted to exert the effort, but he looks content to find fish in the river. The book didn't live up to the picture but it was pretty good. Our protagonist is set to solve the murder of someone that was tied up and left in the woods only to be eaten alive by a wild grizzly bear. The picture of the bear on the cover sold me on this book. I know, "Don't judge a book by its cover". But the bear looks so ominous, the way he stares right at you, maybe a little off to the side. He could kill you if he wanted to exert the effort, but he looks content to find fish in the river. The book didn't live up to the picture but it was pretty good. Our protagonist is set to solve the murder of someone that was tied up and left in the woods only to be eaten alive by a wild grizzly bear. It so happens that he was wittiness to his own father being killed by a bear,several years earlier. Talk about baggage! The story develops nicley and the characters are interesting, but there is no great mystery and the solution is no great suprise. Ecology is a big theme in the book, but I guess that is only natural if you read a book with a bear on the cover. Enjoyable read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Women's National Book Association of New Orleans

    This is big book in every way: the characters, including the imperfect main character with his childhood trauma; the place; the plot. It is more of a psychological thriller, as opposed to a murder mystery, pushing the envelope of the genre quite a bit. At the center of this novel is a nonverbal being, a bear who never does anything that the reader sees directly, yet he is the most memorable character: wild, complete unto himself, amoral, "neutral". Yet the story of this bear is nothing without th This is big book in every way: the characters, including the imperfect main character with his childhood trauma; the place; the plot. It is more of a psychological thriller, as opposed to a murder mystery, pushing the envelope of the genre quite a bit. At the center of this novel is a nonverbal being, a bear who never does anything that the reader sees directly, yet he is the most memorable character: wild, complete unto himself, amoral, "neutral". Yet the story of this bear is nothing without the other bear, an emotional density arising from that 'relationship', as well as from the detective's fear. The evil seems mythical, though arguably the meth dealers are the ultimate evil. The unrelenting abuse of the black Labs, quintessential lovely family dogs, is hard to stomach, as they are not wild being as the bears are; 'wild versus tame' is an important theme.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Barb

    Loved the setting of Glacier National Park, my all time favorite national park. I have even done most of the hike to the approximate site of Ted's bete noire memories, so I kept reading to the end. Unfortunately, the pacing was excruciating and the payoff for hanging in there was minimal. Furthermore, the psychological gymnastics of protagonist, Ted Systead, special agent for the Department of the Interior's National Park Service AND his annoying quarter rolling habit made for an off-putting per Loved the setting of Glacier National Park, my all time favorite national park. I have even done most of the hike to the approximate site of Ted's bete noire memories, so I kept reading to the end. Unfortunately, the pacing was excruciating and the payoff for hanging in there was minimal. Furthermore, the psychological gymnastics of protagonist, Ted Systead, special agent for the Department of the Interior's National Park Service AND his annoying quarter rolling habit made for an off-putting personality, who was difficult to empathize with or care about. If he is in future novels by Christine Carbo, please let him show some personal growth. He needs more therapy.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Alecia

    This is a multi-layrered mystery, and it is also an elegy of grief and loss. What does one do with horrific memories? There are no answers here, just beautiful musings, and thoughtful, engaging prose. I found it to be a page-turner, and the writing and characterizations brought it several notches above a standard mystery. The lead character is a very nuanced individual, and the story kept me going. I would give this one 4.5 stars.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kathy

    Well, I am definitely on a roll. I have not liked any of the books I have recently picked up. This one had such good reviews I purchased it from Amazon and found I could not reconcile the feminine viewpoint as I was truly shocked when I found it was a male narrating the tale...I was just assuming this was a female agent until he was called Ted! Yes, shocked. I try not to read detailed reviews, could see it was female author, etc. Hey, man. It could happen to anyone. Couldn't swallow it.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cindy Knoke

    Superbly written, psychologically insightful, and informed with knowledge only a long time Glacier resident could possess. A bit slow going at times, but well worth the effort to reach the stunning conclusion. Highly recommend.

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