As a teacher, one of the joys I experience is when a former student of mine makes good and does something amazing that has a positive impact on many. This happens quite often, in fact, and recently I found out that one of my former students (from when I was a new teacher) published her first novel Wolves and Men. Needless to say, I couldn't wait to read it. I cleared my busy schedule and started in on the book, and even though Natasha Wittman is a former student it was not this fact that caused me to be unable to put the book down. It is, indeed, a well written thriller.
Wolves and Men is the story of a college student stricken with a terrible event that happened to her in elementary school, a moment of violence that forever scars her and is in many respects the real antagonist in this novel. Without giving too much away (because I do hate spoilers) this novel is a thrill ride from the beginning with a heart and deep sensibility that one often does not find in this genre. Charlotte Benson is a troubled woman, conflicted with self-doubt and much internal pain, who is spirited away to a resort community in the Appalachian woods, where she is meant to heal and reflect. This gated nature preserve is soon threatened by a mysterious disease that effects all of the men, turning them into ravenous killers. She finds shelter with a man who has many secrets and a boy who captures her heart.
There are several great things about this novel that will thrill and entertain any reader. It is first of all a thriller with many moments of utter suspense. Several times in the novel I was sure Charlotte was going to be killed even though the narrative is in first person. That is a tricky feat in itself. Not only that, Wittman has a real talent for description, teaching us about the natural flora of the setting as well as describing the scene with absolute artistry. She describes the setting sun reflecting on the windows of a cabin as "slabs of gold", for instance. There is also much humor in the book sprinkled in to take us away from the dark nature of the plot, but which does not take us too far away from it and thereby ruin the mood that is being conveyed.
All in all I would suggest this book to anyone who is a reader and who appreciates good writing. Wittman's narrative is both to-the-point and artful at the same time, as her prose is in many ways poetic, entertaining us while making us think about ourselves.
I can't help but be a bit biased. After all, Natasha was a fantastic writer when she sat in my classroom so many years ago. It is great to see that she has grown so much as a writer and is finally realizing a dream of hers. Please pick up a copy of this book, either on Kindle or in print. You will not be sorry you did.
Find the book by clicking here.