The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury
HarperCollins Publishers: 3/20/18
eBook review copy; 304 pages
The Wild Inside by Jamey Bradbury is a so-so debut horror/rural noir novel set in Alaska.
Tracy Petrikoff, seventeen, has been raised hunting and trapping, as
well as caring for the family's sled dogs, in Alaska. She runs wild in
the wilderness and gets her strength from it. It has been nearly two
years since her mother's death, and her father, Bill, is still
recovering from her death. Now she has been expelled from school, her
father is trying to load her up with chores and limit her time trapping
and running through the woods. Tracy wants to enter her first adult
Iditarod, but her father isn't listening to her. He was a champion
musher, but has essentially retired now.
When Tracy goes out to check her traps, a stranger attacks her and
unconscious. She comes to with her bloody knife lying nearby. The next
day a man emerges from the woods onto their property with a deadly knife
wound. Did Tracy inflict the wound with the hunting knife she always
carries? She can't remember, but he seems to be familiar. Tracy keeps
all her thoughts to herself and doesn't tell her father what happened.
Positives about the novel were the beautiful descriptions of Alaska.
This book evoked a rollercoaster of emotions for me, however many of
them were not positive. There is one thing Tracy does, aside from her
horrible grammar, which made the book almost a "did not finish,"
something I don't do lightly. Tracy's bad grammar will grate on many
readers nerves after a while in this first-person narrator; it's just a
fact. Tracy is feral in many ways. The one activity that Tracy does,
which I won't describe, is disturbing. There is a description/revelation
of it that happens early in the book, which really cemented my averse
reaction to Tracy as a character. Sometimes something is simply too
weird for some readers. Take note that there is no mention of any
supernatural elements in the description, which would have steered me
away from this book.
My review copy was courtesy of HarperCollins Publishers