Reviewed in the United States on January 12, 2021.
This was an interesting look at biological bear studies, framed in a fictional mystery about a group of biologists trying to bust a bear poaching ring. You can tell that scientifically, the author knows his stuff, and I enjoyed this read, I finished it very quickly. It has a full cast of diverse characters working the case. I found the format interesting too, much of the book is set up as one-sided phone conversations, and you see the plot unfolding as it bounces from person to person calling around. I thought that was creative.
However, at times I felt the characters were a bit too dispassionate. I thought there would be more of a connection to these animals the biologists were tracking in the field, and more anger when the bears met their needless demises. The biologists seemed just as concerned about what they were going to eat for lunch as for the fates of the bears. I also wish that maybe there had been more details about black bears, or the lore of traditional Chinese medicine. What exactly are the healers doing with those parts?
That said, I am curious about the undercover op that seems to be setting up in the end of this book, and I want to know what happens next!