Sometimes the Wolf by Urban Waite is a mystery crime novel that hides a serious family drama. Tense and powerfully plotted father and son issues drive this novel of murder, kidnapping and stolen drug money in the Pacific Northwest winter. Waite’s prose and pace is filled with well developed characters and the spellbinding morality of Dennis Lehane police dramas or the down home spin of a Cormac McCarthy novel. Waite also uses his setting, to expertly set a tone of isolation and despair.
“..Looking at his father now, with his hair grown out and a beard matted across his face, his skin pulled flat in places and creased in others, Drake felt like he didn’t know his father the way he should. So much time had passed with nothing being said between them. Patrick wearing the same clothes he’d gone in with twelve years before, outdated and now large on his thin, muscular frame.
Behind, the guard closed the door and Drake heard the latch fall as Patrick crossed the lot to where he waited by the car. The old canvas coat open at Patrick’s chest, revealing the flannel shirt and jeans he’d gone in with all those years before.
“I see you’ve gone wild,” Drake said, gesturing to his father’s white mane.
Patrick smiled. He’d been in there a long time. And the creases on his skin looked all the deeper. “I’ve always been wild,” he said…
Deputy Bobby Drake picked his father up outside of the prison after twelve years. Patrick Drake had been Sheriff before a DEA sting operation had caught him running drugs across the Canadian border. Now after being locked up for twelve years, Patrick was hoping to make amends with his son and what remained of the family he had left behind. But sometimes the past doesn’t stay in the past and with hundreds of thousands of dollars of drug money missing, Patrick’s past wasn’t going to leave him alone.
DEA agent Driscoll is sure that Patrick knows where the missing money is as well as how two known gangsters ended up killed twelve years ago and he isn’t about to back down now. He’s been waiting for Patrick to get released and he isn’t above using Bobby to get his father.
But Driscoll isn’t the only problem as two more men, recently released from prison, come knocking. They want the money too and they will go much farther than Driscoll to find it.
Bobby must now find out the truth of what happened all those years ago and fast. They have his wife. The DEA is threatening to take his job and his home. And his recently released father Patrick, who he is responsible for, has just gone missing.
Sometimes The Wolf is a tense crime drama along the lines of Fargo. The bad guys are just a little badder then they have to be and the good guys really aren’t all that good. With everyone after their own agendas, how they get there means as little to them as the people they hurt along the way.
At the center of the story is Bobby Drake and his relationship with his estranged father Patrick. Bobby had to give up so much of his own life when his father went to jail. A disgraced sheriff and dying other, left Bobby with a burden no young man should have to carry in a small town where everyone knew your business. Now with his father back, he is torn between reconciliation and recrimination. But when his wife is kidnapped and the reality that his father had been hiding drug money all this time, Bobby is left with the only option available. To save his family and life, even if it means turning his father in.
Waite creates colorful characters with a backdrop as formidable as the frozen northwest.
Sometimes is a strong read with lasting depth.