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The Last Ranger: A novel

di Peter Heller

UtentiRecensioniPopolaritàMedia votiCitazioni
1768157,904 (3.88)8
Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:The best-selling author of The River returns with a vibrant, lyrical novel about an enforcement ranger in Yellowstone National Park who likes wolves better than most people. When a clandestine range war threatens his closest friend, he must shake off his own losses and act swiftly to discover the truth and stay alive.
Officer Ren Hopper is an enforcement ranger with the National Park Service, tasked with duties both mundane and thrilling: Breaking up fights at campgrounds, saving clueless tourists from moose attacks, and attempting to broker an uneasy peace between the wealthy vacationers who tromp through the park with cameras, and the residents of hardscrabble Cooke City who want to carve out a meaningful living.
When Ren, hiking through the backcountry on his day off, encounters a tall man with a dog and a gun chasing a small black bear up a hill, his hackles are raised. But what begins as an investigation into the background of a local poacher soon opens into something far murkier: A shattered windshield, a series of red ribbons tied to traps, the discovery of a frightening conspiracy, and a story of heroism gone awry.
Populated by a cast of extraordinary characters??famous scientists, tattooed bartenders, wildlife guides in slick Airstreams??and bursting with unexpected humor and grace, Peter Heller masterfully unveils a portrait of the American west where our very human impulses??for greed, love, family, and community??play out amidst the stunning beauty of the na
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The Last Ranger is about a Yellowstone Ranger who runs interference between a wolf biologist and a game poacher. It's about all the loners, lost souls, and stupid entitled tourists who pass his way. It's also about the landscape, the wildlife, the wolves, and the rhythm of life in the backcountry. But mostly it's about judging too soon, showing mercy, forgiveness, love, and moving on.

This is a fantastic novel! I absolutely loved it. The characters were perfectly drawn; Heller's insight into the types that choose to live in remote places is uncanny--the way they talk, the strange sense of community-- perfect. His more caricature depictions of the tourists was comical. The descriptions of the landscapes made me feel like I was there. The stories of the wolves compared and contrasted with humans, were really interesting. And the ending! The ending was the most satisfying yet believable ending I have encountered, maybe ever. And the whole story made me feel like there is hope for humanity. (Listened to on Audible) ( )
  technodiabla | Jan 21, 2024 |
[3.25] Let’s start with the positives. Heller has lived up to his reputation and delivered a beautifully written ode to nature. He offers vivid literary snapshots that showcase the lives of park rangers and educates readers about wolves, moose, bears and other wildlife. A value-added for me: the story was set in Yellowstone — one of my all-time favorite venues. Now the negatives: as a mystery or suspense tale, it fell short. Until the final few dozen pages, it was slow-moving, and a few subplots seemed to be awkwardly tossed in for good measure. ( )
1 vota brianinbuffalo | Dec 31, 2023 |
The Last Ranger is my first experience with Peter Heller's work but I was immediately taken by the author's storytelling ability and the conflicted characters that populate this tale of what everyday life inside a large national park such as Yellowstone might be like for the rangers and staff who live and work in them. Having spent some time in several national parks in recent years, I've often admired the patience that park rangers display even while witnessing the utter stupidity of an unfortunately high percentage of the tourists they have to deal with every day - but there were things I was still curious about. Well, The Last Ranger, I'm happy to report, not only kept me thoroughly entertained, it left me with a much better understanding of what daily life inside a park like Yellowstone must be like for the animals and humans who live there.

Ren Hopper, a Yellowstone National Park enforcement officer, is still dealing with the personal grief created by the sudden death of his wife. Ren is getting better, but he's still not ready to be around a lot of people, so the isolation and remoteness of his job are exactly what he both craves and needs. The ranger has two or three close friends for support and he's friendly enough with a small circle of locals and park employees, but it is the company of the park's beautiful wolf expert that he enjoys more than most - a positive sign.

Ren knows the routine well. He realizes that his days are largely going to be spent rescuing clueless tourists from themselves, breaking up campground fights, and dealing with locals who sometimes resent the behavior of tourists passing through their world - but he can always look forward to days off when he can lose himself inside the park's more remote areas. Everything changes on the day Ren spots a poacher, rifle in hand, allowing his dog to chase a young black bear inside the park. As it turns out, the poacher is not only a threat to Yellowstone's bear population, he is also a threat to the wolves who call the park home. And because the park's wolf expert is just as aggressive in defending her wolves as the poacher is in trying to take them, the poacher is now a direct threat to the woman Ren wants so much to protect.

Peter Heller's main characters are complex and flawed, even the ones who make doing the right thing their first priority. Too often, doing the right thing is not easy, and Heller's characters must decide how far they are willing to bend in order to get the job done. It's the age old question of judging when the ends justify the means. The Last Ranger is a literary novel; it is a painless lesson in the behavior of the animals found inside Yellowstone National Park; and it is a crime novel - with the real question being who will turn out to be the criminal, and who the victim. ( )
  SamSattler | Nov 1, 2023 |
I knew many of the places Heller mentioned, Cooke City, the Ausable River in the Adirondacks, the Lamar Valley, etc., which added to my enjoyment. He captured the impact of all sorts of people with widely varied attitudes to nature, animals and life converging in Yellowstone. He also shows the impact of money on the people who live modestly in that environment. I loved the compassion Ren showed when he could and the how that changed over time. Hilly, the wolf biologist, gave insight into how wolves live and, sadly, die before their time. ( )
  ccayne | Oct 4, 2023 |
Skip this one. I had high expectations, but it just dragged on and meandered with no purpose. Read Heller's The River or American Wolf by Nate Blakeslee instead. I think Heller‘s fatal flaw is that he just can’t write women well. Scratch that, Celine, his novel about an elderly PI based on his mother, is excellent. He just can’t write women as a romantic interest. They are hollow and so bad. Their actions never feel genuine. Hoping for better next time. I loved The River, but then that didn’t have any women in it. ( )
  bookworm12 | Aug 31, 2023 |
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Fiction. Literature. Suspense. Thriller. HTML:The best-selling author of The River returns with a vibrant, lyrical novel about an enforcement ranger in Yellowstone National Park who likes wolves better than most people. When a clandestine range war threatens his closest friend, he must shake off his own losses and act swiftly to discover the truth and stay alive.
Officer Ren Hopper is an enforcement ranger with the National Park Service, tasked with duties both mundane and thrilling: Breaking up fights at campgrounds, saving clueless tourists from moose attacks, and attempting to broker an uneasy peace between the wealthy vacationers who tromp through the park with cameras, and the residents of hardscrabble Cooke City who want to carve out a meaningful living.
When Ren, hiking through the backcountry on his day off, encounters a tall man with a dog and a gun chasing a small black bear up a hill, his hackles are raised. But what begins as an investigation into the background of a local poacher soon opens into something far murkier: A shattered windshield, a series of red ribbons tied to traps, the discovery of a frightening conspiracy, and a story of heroism gone awry.
Populated by a cast of extraordinary characters??famous scientists, tattooed bartenders, wildlife guides in slick Airstreams??and bursting with unexpected humor and grace, Peter Heller masterfully unveils a portrait of the American west where our very human impulses??for greed, love, family, and community??play out amidst the stunning beauty of the na

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