The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis
Published by The Borough Press on June 30, 2016
Genres: Dystopian
Pages: 400
Format: ARC
Source: LibraryThing
Purchase on: Amazon// Barnes & Noble// BookBub
Add to: Goodreads // StoryGraph

I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A debut literary thriller from an incredible new voice. What do you do when the man who gave you everything turns out to be a killer?

Everything Elka knows of the world she learned from the man she calls Trapper, the solitary hunter who took her under his wing when she was just seven years old.
But when Elka sees the Wanted poster in town, her simple existence is shattered. Her Trapper – Kreagar Hallet – is wanted for murder. Even worse, Magistrate Lyon is hot on his trail, and she wants to talk to Elka.
Elka flees into the vast wilderness, determined to find her true parents. But Lyon is never far behind – and she’s not the only one following Elka’s every move. There will be a reckoning, one that will push friendships to the limit and force Elka to confront the dark memories of her past.


A serial killer raising a young orphan girl in a post apocalyptic landscape? You’ve already got me sucked in! The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis was one of the books I have been most excited about reading this year and it certainly lived up to the hype! This book was absolutely, devastatingly amazing. Cruel, yet oddly uplifting.

The book gives you a glimpse at the end, then turns back to show you how everything unraveled to that point. Elka, who never really remembers her name, is a young adult/late teenager but still seems young in mind. Her arrested development likely comes from the fact that she was raised by Trapper, a serial killer with a reason behind his killings. What’s that reason? I think most can guess what it is pretty early on, but I won’t spoil it here.

Elka narrates the book and we see early on just how unreliable she can be as a narrator. She can’t even remember her birth name. She says she never knew that Trapper was a murderer, yet she believed it once she was told and knows she went on a hunt once with him, to catch a deer. The fact that everyone but Elka realizes certain things, such as “why” (or as close to why as we can get) Trapper kills, and why Trapper decides to keep Elka alive and raise her, when she can’t is so tragically sad. We see her mind slowly unravel as the psychogenic amnesia begins to wear off the farther away she gets from Trapper, or better said, the closer he gets to her. Once she breaks down all of the mental barriers she has set up, the end result is heartbreaking and cruel to where the reader only wants to do what Penelope does, hug her, hold her, and tell her it’s okay. YOU’RE OKAY.

Beth Lewis does an amazing job of explaining the story and what happened to this fractured world Elka is a part of while still remaining true to Elka’s voice. The Damn Stupid. Sudden “thunderheads” that are like tornadoes picking apart everything in its path and throwing it like a toddler does his toys. A cold war gone nuclear and survivors living in the aftermath as best they can. Lewis creates this broken world that feels so real, you can almost hear the crunch of the snow as people trudge through it and see the fog of breath escape. It’s such a vivid landscape, yet as I said earlier, it all remains true to Elka’s voice. None of it sounds like the author interposing herself suddenly in the story, unless it’s via other characters, such as Penelope.

The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis is an absolutely tremendous post-apocalyptic novel. If you’ve read The Road, by Cormac McCarthy, the feeling you get reading The Wolf Road seems almost opposite. In McCarthy’s work, you feel that somehow things will be okay and it isn’t maybe as dark until you get further in, whereas The Wolf Road, you immediately have a sense of dread, knowing what will happen to the protagonist/antihero and sincerely cannot imagine it ending well at all.


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