When the novel opens, Rice Moore has been working for six months as the caretaker at a nature preserve in the Virginia outback. Given his position as a tree-hugging, animal-preserving pseudo-scientist, the locals regard him as an intruder, doing nothing to hide their open hostility towards him. Initially, Moore does not appear to own the right skill set to protect himself from the bad guys we know are coming his way, but McLaughlin manages the perfect balance between moving the story forward while teasing out Moore’s past.
When black bears show up on the mountain gutted and skinned, Moore’s obsessive desire to catch the poachers and punish them for their indiscretion creates a direct conflict with his own self-interest to remain anonymous and off the map. He’s a big guy, has exceptional fighting skills and knows his way around guns. When his uncompromising moral code drives him into the cross hairs of local poachers his present crashes into his past. Moore has to decide to do what’s right or stay hidden. His decision leads to an incredibly satisfying denouement! 5 Popcorns!