Ape House by Sara Gruen

Find in catalogGruen shows the same compassion for animals that made Water or Elephants a success. Loved the green-haired vegan and retired porn star.

When the Killing’s Done by T. Coraghessan Boyle

Wildlife biologist Alma Takesue and animal rights activist Dave La Joy are fighting over what species should be allowed on Anacapa Island, off the California coast. Boyle excels in letting us experience the struggle of humans against nature, as  his characters take small boats across a stormy channel and fight their way across steep, chaparral-covered slopes deluged by a fierce rainstorm.

The book also carries a strong environmental theme and raises questions about the cost of protecting threatened species. The main characters are animated not by greed but by idealism and strong personal motives, making their conflict more intense. The weakness in the book is that while Alma, Dave, and other characters  are well-developed, the line between good and bad seems rather simplistically drawn.

Reviewed by Sara V.