Wolves in Maine bring murder and mayhem

When wolves show up in Maine’s north woods, landowners and others launch a major, but secretive, effort to kill them.

And that’s just part of the complex plot in Sandra Neily’s novel, Deadly Trespass.   I first got to know Sandy many years ago when she worked for one of our state’s major environmental groups. She’s had a lifelong passion for conservation, environmental protection, and our native wildlife.

That passion – and her strong views about everything from clearcuts to devious politicians – comes through loud and clear in this novel. In fact, I often saw Sandy in the main character Cassandra, who early in the novel finds her best friend Shannon crushed under a tree.

Sandy has a real talent for developing her characters, and the dialogue keeps the story moving in a very entertaining way.

I don’t want to give away the plot, but I will tell you that forest landowners, hunters, politicians, and even some environmental groups – are working together and apart to rid the woods of wolves which threaten to derail a major north woods development project.

I particularly enjoyed the characterization of the governor, who, at a public meeting, cancels Wolf Awareness Week and signs up for the Predator Derby in which those who kill the most predators win prizes. “I am locked and loaded for the derby,” shouts the governor. “Count. Me. In!”

Later, outside the meeting, he is surreptitiously captured on tape making a deal with the big landowner to kill all the wolves. “Now, gentlemen, let’s get to work,” he says. “Kill us some wolves. Exterminate the vermin while we’ve got God, time, and ammunition on our side.”

Cassandra’s activism and advocacy for wolves puts her life in danger, and I read the last half of the book in a hurry, to find out if she gets killed along with the wolves.

Sandy’s novel has already won an award and is getting rave reviews. Please add my review to that list. No matter how you feel about wolves, forest cutting practices, groups representing environmentalists and sportsmen, or even our political leaders, you will enjoy the way they are portrayed here.

George Smith

About George Smith

George stepped down at the end of 2010 after 18 years as the executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine to write full time. He writes a weekly editorial page column in the Kennebec Journal and Waterville Morning Sentinel, a weekly travel column in those same newspapers (with his wife Linda), monthly columns in The Maine Sportsman magazine, two outdoor news blogs (one on his website, georgesmithmaine.com, and one on the website of the Bangor Daily News), and special columns for many publications and newsletters. Islandport Press published a book of George's favorite columns, "A Life Lived Outdoors" in 2014. In 2014, George also won a Maine Press Association award for writing the state's bet sports blog. In 2016, Down East Books published George's book, Maine Sporting Camps, and Islandport Press published George and his wife Linda's travel book, Take It From ME, about their favorite Maine inns and restaurants.