The Wild Inside

Some novels are very difficult to read.

Jamey Bradbury’s “The Wild Inside” (William Morrow, 290 pages) is a case in point.

Dubbed by bestselling author John Irving as “an unusual love story and a creepy horror novel” (think of the Bronte sisters and Stephen King), the book is a stomach churner, not a page turner.

The story centers on Tracy Petrikoff, a rebellious teenager living with her father, a widower, and younger brother on their homestead in Alaska.

A wild child, Tracy, has been expelled from school for fighting. Her father, a former Iditarod racer, has stopped

racing since the death of Hannah, his wife and the mother of his children.

But Tracy’s character is not a simple case of teenage angst, she shares a deadly secret with her late mother — a thirst for blood. (Is this a tale of vampirism, lycanthropy or utter depravity?)

While she is able to fall in love with the teenage drifter, Jesse Goodwin, her blood lust remains and leads to her demise.

This is not a cheery story for the tender hearted. Bradbury tortures the reader with the description of the father losing his mind during a race and brutally bashing to death the elderly sled dog Panda. (In fairness, I must confess I work for an animal shelter and find such activities disgusting.)

Jamey Bradbury’s novel succeeds in raising the “creepiness factor” to heights worthy of the great Mt. Denali, but it is not exactly entertaining.