When the Killing’s Done, by T. C. Boyle

An environmental novel based in the Channel Islands off Santa Barbara, California pits National Park Service biologist Alma Boyd Takesue against Dave LaJoy, a businessman and animal rights activist.  Takesue oversees the Park Service’s efforts to eradicate invasive species, such as rats and pigs, from the islands; LaJoy responds with reckless protests that result in disastrous consequences.

Both have a past connection to the islands, and both want to save animals, but their results don’t always match their motives.  While none of the characters are particularly likeable, the questions raised by their actions are interesting, including the central one:  what’s invasive and what’s natural?

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Rating:  **** Very, very good
Reviewed by:  stc

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