Reviewed by Vera Pereskokova

Some called Luke Warren a genius, while others considered him insane. A renowned wolf researcher and conservationist, Luke ingratiated himself into wolf packs – living with them, feeding with them (often on raw meat) and playing a pivotal role in the pack dynamics. In some ways, Luke understood the animals better than he ever understood his own human family. Following his stunt/two-year departure to live in the Canadian forest with wild wolves, Luke’s wife, Georgie, walked away from their very one-sided marriage and his 18-year-old son, Edward, ran away from home and the father who never understood him. Luke’s only connection to his family was his daughter Cara, who chose to live with him instead of Georgie and her new family.

The disjointed family is unwillingly brought together when Luke crashes his car while driving Cara back from a party. Cara is seriously injured but quickly recovers, while Luke suffers traumatic brain injuries and remains unconscious.

Georgie rushes to the hospital to be with her daughter and Edward flies home to a family he left six years earlier. He must face his mother whom he chose to protect from the truth by fleeing, and the sister who blames him for the breakup of their family. More importantly, as his father’s of-age next of kin, Edward must make difficult decisions about Luke’s life. Should he continue his father’s life support in spite of doctors’ opinions about the hopelessness of the situation, or let his father die?

I am a huge fan of Jodi Picoult – as can be evidenced by my previous reviews of Sing You Home and House Rules – but Lone Wolf fell flat for me. To begin with, I had a difficult time believing the whole wolf man/Mogwli aspect of the book. However, Picoult thanked Shaun Ellis, author of The Man Who Lives with Wolves, in her acknowledgements, so I’ll acquiesce that the concept may be plausible.

The wolf man aspect aside, I could not connect with any of the characters. Luke’s chapters describing his experiences with the wolves were the most compelling, if somewhat unbelievable, but it’s sad to say that the most exciting character was the one in a coma…

Picoult’s books have always surprised me with twists that were thrown in in the end, just when I thought I had everything figured out. The “big” family secrets that were continuously hinted at throughout the book were not all that “big” when they panned out. And while some twists were still present in Lone Wolf, they were not particularly surprising, and neither was the ending itself.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 

Review copy was provided free of any obligation by Atria/Emily Bestler Books. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.