Grizzly Moon

Written by Patrick Dearen
Review by Thomas j. Howley

During a hunting expedition in Texas in 1880, Wash Baker tragically and mistakenly kills his son in a shooting accident on a dark and unfortunate night. Nineteen years later, Wash is again hunting a killer grizzly bear which has been threatening local livestock. He is surrounded by others, including his daughter Grace, hired hand and adopted son Tommy, morose and unpleasant Ed Mulholland, Ed’s quiet son Trey and a grief-stricken preacher man, Brother Isom.

The hunters don’t know that another is also hunting the bear. Twelve-year-old Rosindo Mesa, accompanied by his little sister Benita, has come up from Mexico and is determined to find and kill the grizzly before the next full moon to avenge the lethal mauling of his father. Wash and his party have the advantage of using hunting dogs while Rosindo must rely on his tracking skills to make his way through harsh mountainous terrain and raw cold weather.

Loosely based on an actual hunt for the only grizzly bear discovered in Texas in 1899, the book presents an accurate and detailed description of the rugged venue in colorful terms. However, the predominant themes include tragedy, guilt, heartbreak and questionable desire for revenge. These ponderous issues weigh on all of the members of Wash’s party while young Rosindo feels he is running out of time to track down the bear before the full moon in which case his father’s soul will wander forever unavenged. This rather short novel seems longer because of the long pent-up tension and stress associated with running the grizzly to ground. A classic western novel which will appeal to fans of the genre.