The supporting cast for The Clearing by Thomas Rydder includes canine and lupine members*. Author, Thomas Rydder, gets inside the animal mindset so effectively that you’ll have to watch you don’t start sniffing the air and howling at the moon.
Here’s an extract from early in the book when the family dog starts to test human-set boundaries.
An eerie howl split the night air. It seemed to go on forever, rising in pitch and holding, before slowly falling off. Beth felt the hairs on the back of her neck stand up, and Lizzie stood frozen, staring up into the hills. Beth had completed her graduate work in the Gila National Forest of New Mexico, and had heard her share of coyotes yelping.
This wasn’t a coyote.
The howl was stronger—almost demanding—and lacked the mournful tone of a coyote’s lament. Flapjack whined then sprang up to pace back and forth, hunching his shoulders and sniffing ceaselessly. Another howl burst forth, this one closer.
Keeping her eyes on the dog, Beth commanded, “Honey, go inside. Everything is fine, but I think you should go in for a minute.” A third howl cut off any protest the youngster might have made, and the slamming screen door was evidence of her compliance. Turning her attention back to the woods line, Beth considered the agitated canine. “Come on, boy. Let’s go inside. We got enough bugs tonight, anyway.”
Suddenly, a faint rustling came from just inside the trees, and as her eyes snapped toward the sound, she could swear she saw a shadow flitting by an opening. Flapjack’s whimpering elevated and he was now standing with ears up. Suddenly, he bounded forward and cleared the fence in one leap. Beth scarcely had time to scream “Flapjack!” before he disappeared into the blackness of the forest.
The Clearing launches in paperback and eBook editions on March 1st. You can see some early comments and reviews about the book on Goodreads here. If you’re very quick (and based in the US), you could be in with a chance of winning a paperback copy in this Goodreads giveaway that finishes early on Thursday. (We’ll be doing giveaways for other countries at a later date).
*By the way, I did wonder about the correctness of the terms ‘canine’ and ‘lupine’. It’s a case of commonly used terms dating back to Roman times rubbing up against modern scientific classification. Wolves and dogs (and dingoes) are both subspecies of Canis lupus. Coyotes, which get a mention in this passage, are slightly more distantly related, being Canis latrans. So now you know 🙂