One-third the length of its unabridged brother, this shortened version of The Loop by Nicholas Evans (The Horse Whisperer) is intended for people on the go. As read by Stephen Lang (Tombstone, A Few Good Men), the story clips right along, satisfied to concentrate on the plot's dramatic high notes. Thanks to Evans's impressive storytelling talents, it remains an interesting listen.
Using the controversial reintroduction of wolves into the American West as its catalyst, Evans pits a powerful Montana rancher against a struggling wolf pack, the wildlife agents mandated to protect the animals and, ultimately, recalcitrant members of his own family. "Luke could taste blood starting, salty and metallic, inside his mouth. He stared at his father, who stood glaring at him, his massive chest heaving and his neck flushed with anger."
Evans has loaded the characters with haunting secrets and hidden agendas, creating a deeply textured story of compelling plot lines that form a circle of love, hate, trust, and suspicion. The use of music to elevate the already heightened drama is perhaps overdone, but Lang's narration is quite good, keeping pace with a story that moves. (Running time: 5.5 hours, four cassettes) --George Laney [via]