Ronald Kelly ventures off the beaten path with his latest novel, trading in his patented Southern suspense for a good old-fashioned western. That’s not to say that TIMBER GRAY doesn’t have any chilling moments; quite the contrary, in fact. Kelly has written a powerful man-vs-beast tale that’s sure to give you a shiver or two along the way.

Jefferson “Timber” Gray was a happy family man, living in the Tennessee hills with his wife and son. Upon returning from a turkey hunt, Gray is horrified to see that a pack of wolves is attacking his family. The man attempts to save them from the beasts, but is ultimately too late. After recovering from his injuries, Timber Gray makes a vow to hunt down as many wolves as he can find, hiring himself out as a mercenary when he hears that a town or ranch is beset by the beasts.

But Gray’s latest contract might be more than he bargained for. A rancher has requested the hunter’s services after a pack of fifty wolves has been terrorizing his cattle and eventually killed one of his cowhands. What follows is a quest across the western United States as Timber Gray tracks the deadly beasts. Along the way he comes across a family from Minnesota looking to start a new life in the West as well as a black man who was wrongly accused of murder and is being hunted by a group of bounty hunters.

While the wolf hunting is the overarching theme of the story, I found the scenes to be more interesting when Timber Gray stumbled across people on the trail. The threat of the wolves makes the story tense at times, but there are only so many ways to describe shooting wolves, and after awhile they become somewhat repetitive. The reclusive Gray’s run-ins with humanity prove to be much more enjoyable as they give the reader a look at the hurts and insecurities of a man who lost his family, and how he strives to overcome the experience of that dark day.

TIMBER GRAY is currently available as an e-book from Crossroad Press. The short novel comes in at roughly 125 pages, sports an amazing cover by Zach McCain, has the low price tag of $5.99, and is available in a number of different e-formats. Check it out if you’re looking for a change of pace.

(7 out of 10)

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