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Wild Animus    by Rick Shapero order for
Wild Animus
by Rick Shapero
Order:  USA  Can
Too Far, 2004 (2004)
*   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Animus is something you might hate, according to my college desk dictionary. Wild Animus is an unusual book. The actual writing especially for a debut effort is beautiful. Graceful, flowing, full of import. The action moves at a fast clip, providing suspense, human emotion that reaches the breaking point, a misguided love that is almost understandable. The author's concern for the wilderness still remaining is evident.

Shapero's love for Alaska is there for everyone to see. I can agree with him on that point. I've only had a short time in Alaska and would mourn the loss of any portion of that blindingly beautiful state to progress. The story line, however, left me bewildered. Sam, the protagonist, who eventually takes the name Ransom, trips on LSD the whole book, becoming more and more paranoid. More and more sure that he is a ram that is being pursued by wolves. How he manages to persuade other characters to help him in his quest to reach a summit in Alaska escapes me. Is everyone he comes in contact with on drugs?

This book is professionally done. I guess it just isn't my genre. I hate to see anyone out of control and this character is completely gone, while no one seems to do anything to keep him off the path of self-destruction. I look forward to reading more of Shapero's work. But I hope he has come down from his high when he writes the next book.

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