Wolf Point
Edward Falco
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Wolf Point
Edward Falco
Unbridled Books
240 pages
August 2006
rated 4 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Picture a lone man, driving in his new Range Rover on a road trip from Salem, Virginia, to the Thousand Islands near the Canadian border. The driver, T Aloysius Walker. is leaving behind a tattered life, marriage and family a thing of the past. He hopes to spend some restorative time in a cabin at the Thousand Islands, indulging in amateur photography.

He stops to pick up two hitchhikers near Tully, New York, a young woman and her long-haired companion, Jenny and Lester. The girl is dressed provocatively and her companion is half-hidden under a shady tree. The girl says she is twenty-three and is obviously seductive, her ex-boyfriend glowering from the back seat of the Rover.

Realizing it isnít smart to stop for these two, he does it anyway, giving in to an impulse for change, any change in the isolated monotony of his recent existence. T gets more than he bargained for. T is still attractive at fifty-seven, maintaining an athletic build; but when Jenny says that she is twenty-three, T imagines she is younger. From the beginning, Jenny is outrageously flirtatious, using her wiles to attract Tís attention. When T reveals his destination, Jenny is enthusiastic and says thatís where they are headed as well.

The protagonist is caught in a moral conundrum, once seduced by his own curiosity, now seduced by a girl young enough to be his granddaughter. As the hitchhikers act out their almost preordained roles, they exist in a different plane, inured to random violence in a ruthless world that always takes more than it gives back. Tís naivetť appears either desperate or impossibly innocent for a man of his years. Stranded in a parallel universe, T is a willing hostage to fate, caught in a moment of reckoning he never sees coming, wrapped in his miasma of memories.

In the deep silence of the isolated cabin and the nearby water, a two-pronged drama plays out, evolving into two separate realities, Tís past mixing inextricably with the present. This story is about what happens to a man on the downside of life, who has lost his moral compass long before meeting these strangers. Perhaps a man who makes such foolish decisions deserves whatever happens to him.

From the first page, the author is slyly skeptical of his protagonistís motives, every action a reminder of the delicate balance of this dangerous situation. Falco so perfectly manipulates his characters that their actions define the amoral landscape of an indifferent world, a place where hidden horrors lurk in the shadows, twisting innocence into misshapen loyalty. As though in a waking nightmare, T dances with Jenny and Lester, sometimes graceful, sometimes clumsy, but never, never leading. In the end, he is confronted with his own mortality and the consequences of careless, if not damning, choices.

Click here for Luan Gaines' interview with Wolf Point author Edward Falco

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at www.curledup.com. © Luan Gaines, 2005

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