Read advance reader review of Panther Gap by James A. McLaughlin

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Panther Gap

A Novel

by James A. McLaughlin

Panther Gap by James A. McLaughlin X
Panther Gap by James A. McLaughlin
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  • Published:
    Apr 2023, 368 pages


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  • Molly B. (Longmont, CO)
    Wild but oddly, kind of believable
    First of all, the book is the kind I like to read - fast paced, interesting, weird, and surprising, with no boring sentences. The plot is wildly imaginative, and more than a bit woo-woo, but it was presented so matter-of-factly, or perhaps so well written, that it was easy to suspend disbelief. It may not go down in history as one of the classics, but it sure was fun to read, and IMHO, there's a huge place for this kind of book.
  • Mark S. (Blauvelt, NY)
    A Unique Thriller
    Fascinating read! It takes a little while to get used to the change in time and narrator, but it was worth it to figure out who was who and when was when. Minus the satire, it was similar to trying to figure out what is going on in Catch-22. My initial desire to read the book was based on what had been described as a thriller involving a possibly tainted inheritance and the looming presence of an angry drug cartel. As I got deeper in the novel, I found myself at least equally captivated by the author's brilliant description and incorporation of the setting. At times, it was as if the reader had a front row seat to what happens when modern man threatens to ruin one of the increasingly rare remaining natural environments like Panther Gap. Summer and Bowman were also developed as perfect complements to that setting. As focused as I was on the plot twists, I also needed to frequently reread sections because I got too caught up picturing the landscape. Once the action really picked up, this one was almost impossible to put down. It was a unique combination that readers do not usually get in a "thriller," and I will definitely be reading more of McLaughlin's work.
  • Valerie C. (Chico, CA)
    Complex and exciting
    Great read with a strong female lead. Very complicated and well developed plot and characters.
  • Carol R. (North Mankato, MN)
    Engaging and beautiful scenery!
    I loved this book although it was not an easy read. The story unfolds with visits to the past as we learn more about the cast of characters, family history, conflicts, and clues concerning the rumored inheritance. The descriptions of the scenery, animals, and touches of mysticism were so beautiful that I made myself slow down and imagine being there. I was particularly intrigued as I tried to visualize the remote family compound in the Colorado wilderness. Character development of siblings Bowman and Summer was revealed bit by bit with flashbacks and side stories as they learned the details, potential dangers, and emotional conflicts associated with the financial legacy left to them. Now I have to read "Bearskin." I hope there is a sequel...
  • Karen Gallup
    I loved all the different aspects of this book. McLaughlin wrote expertly and convincingly about the science and the nature and the mysticism. And I devoured it all. I had to make myself slow down so that I would appreciate it more and remember it better. The family dynamics were well thought out and depicted and Colorado was actually another character in the book. The change in time and speaker and location were done in such a great way that they were a great way to give the reader important backstories and were easy to follow
    I hope there is a sequel and as another reader mentioned a prequel to learn more about the Girard family. Thank you for the opportunity to read and review Panther Gap.
  • Linda L. (Pickerington, OH)
    Suspenseful page-turner
    Panther Gap is a riveting, dramatic story, set in the breath-taking mountains of Colorado. The author reveals a deep knowledge of the flora, fauna, and geological features of the area. It's an intelligent, challenging read that will surprise you at every twist of the plot. I could not put it down. Chronological flash backs add to the understanding of the characters, their motivations, their family history, loyalties, and conflicting emotions. Prepare for imperfect characters, an ecological bent, violence, and more than a touch of mysticism. The back cover notes that this is a follow-up to McLaughlin's Bearskin. Rice and Apryle, from Bearskin, appear in the second half of the book, but one does not have to have read Bearskin to enjoy Panther Gap. I highly recommend this book. Fans of Richard Powers and Peter Heller would enjoy this gritty, suspense novel.
  • Amy E. (Delaware, OH)
    The legacies of the Ancestors, conspiracy theories, drug cartels, environmental concerns, hidden sums of money, prison gangs, spiritual visions and more contribute to a real thriller.

    McLaughlin is a wonderful storyteller with excellent use of language to develop his settings and characters. His balance between the past and the present and the spiritual and the practical draws the reader in to explore some very interesting ideas.
    I loved the book!
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