One spring morning Alison Lomez watches her daughter, Rachel, wait for the school bus in front of their house when she sees a coyote trot up to the seven-year-old and sit down. This encounter between species is the first of many in Lisa Lenard-Cook's novel of life in Valle Bosque, New Mexico. The village is only a short commute from Albuquerque, but it is home to a healthy population of these adaptable canines as well as a contentious group of humans who disagree vigorously on how to deal with their wild neighbors. Lisa Lenard-Cook introduces us to coyote supporters, coyote haters, and an animal control agent who secretly practices a "catch and release" program.
Anyone who lives in the twenty-first-century West will recognize Lenard-Cook's sharp-eyed portrait of the edgy space between farms and suburbs, old timers and newcomers. But her witty send-up of the environmental issues that vex refugees from city life serves as a powerful and serious means of examining the ways human beings cope with life's mysteries and its inevitable dangers. The complex relations between men and women, parents and children, brothers and sisters that make up the daily lives of Lenard-Cook's characters will make readers reflect on their own lives and relationship to wildness.