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The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators

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In the eye-popping collection, The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators, naturalist Gordon Grice describes female praying mantises who decapitate their mates during sex, wild boars who flatten horses and eat men, and six-eyed recluse spiders that paralyze their prey with venom, inject them with digestive juices, then drink them like milk shakes. Grice chronicles the stark, often elegant, sometimes pointless brutality of predatory creatures from coyotes to black widows, both in the wild and in his rural Oklahoma living room. In crisply minimalist prose, he combines homespun observations with biological fact, flavoring his findings with just the right measure of philosophical spice. A