This is a very difficult book to categorise other than to say that it fits very well into the category of 'a good read'. It is an exciting, alarming, frightening, quirky, witty and touching story, all at the same time. The title and the cover art indicate the nastiness contained inside though not the wit and humour which keep a potentially bleak story from becoming overpowering.
Most of the action takes place in the Laurentian region of Quebec in Winter. There is a lot of action going on however in the mind of the main protagonist, Nile Nightingale who has sought sanctuary there from the garden state of New Jersey, where troubles had overtaken his already troubled life and mind. Nile's mental issues were triggered or exacerbated by past drug and drink abuse and addiction. Revealing what is going on in his head is a key element of the charm of this book. When he gets asked a question we usually see what he thinks in answer to the question before seeing the 'correct' answer he actually comes out with. He has a quirky mind and this insight into it is very enjoyable. At the start of the novel he saves his protagonist, Celeste, from a slow death. She is a 13,14 or 15 year old orphan brainiac girl recently escaped from an unloving foster home.
'Sanctuary' is definitely the wrong word to describe this outback region of Quebec, red in tooth and claw with bloodthirsty hunters of anything on four legs or two wings. The description of their cruel activities is gruesome. This could have been a preachy book as it rails against the hunters, but the way in which it is written saved it from that.
Together Nile and Celeste are under siege and as they plot the defeat of the worst of the hunting fraternity, the story builds to its epic climax. As I said before, a good read.