This wintry thriller demonstrates how commercial interests can move
into an area and steamroll through the interests of the local community
and established tourism. Park Warden Jenny Willson gets transferred to
Yoho National Park in Canada's Rockies. A small wildlife research team
is already discovering that there is NO
PLACE FOR WOLVERINES.
Jenny, who is partly undercover, visits her mother's home in Collie
Creek, BC, near Christmastime. Anne Willson has been lonely and
depressed, a widow with a library job and few social outlets.
Surprisingly, a mega ski resort project gives the townsfolk a reason to
meet and led by Sara Ilsley, a former forestry professor, they
brainstorm their opposition. A sudden office fire kills one of the two
wildlife researchers, who were filming wolverines. Coincidence? The
RCMP officers aren't convinced, nor is the remaining researcher, Alvin
Stoffel. The ski project managers have a dodgy track record.
We see how one of the resort proponents, Stafford Austin, sucks up to
sports players with big incomes to invest, assuring them that earnings
are guaranteed. Sounds like a Ponzi scheme to me. The momentum
builds, and planning permits, administered from Ottawa, may be
forthcoming. After all, jobs and tourism are attractive. The existing
lodges will suffer, but they are small and scattered. Climate warming is
affecting ski resorts further south. Jack Church, Jenny's new superior,
is all for the resort -- the reason Jenny has come in undercover. Even
bigger developments are in the pipeline. Some of the worried townsfolk
start talking about ecoterrorist methods. Tempers rise. Jenny's option
is to link up with Michael Berland, an investigative reporter in Boise,
Idaho, who has written about Stafford Austin's financial finagling
I found this book a fine look at various angles of this thorny topic. The
project developers are a bit too one-sided, too underhanded. But it's
fiction. Wolverines, which den in the National Park, are protected under
federal regulation as an endangered species. The first Jenny Willson
book by Dave Butler, Full Curl, is set in Banff National Park. Anyone who
enjoyed Nevada Barr or Sarah Andrews' books will be more than
interested in NO PLACE FOR
WOLVERINES. Dave Butler is a Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee
medal winner, and a Fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society.
He has created an intelligent web of money, threat, townsfolk, and
wilderness, with the talent of making geography vivid and readable, like
Dana Stabenow. I'm hooked.
When Jenny Willson initiates a covert inquiry into a proposed ski hill in
Yoho National Park, she must decide if sheâ€™s willing to risk her career â€”
and perhaps her life and the lives of those close to her â€” to reveal
what lurks in the darkness.