The Loop

Paging Kevin Costner! The sensitive New Age-male tactics that Nicholas Evans deployed to such brazenly best-selling effect in The Horse Whisperer have been loosed onto defenseless, fictional Hope, Mont. — wolf country. The title, The Loop, refers to a trap one local devises to kill these dangerous — but marvelous — beasts. In steps embittered scientist Helen Ross to intervene…and learn about love…with Luke Calder, her adversary’s stuttering yet tempting adolescent son. You’ve heard of the sex-and-shopping novel? This is its ’90s counterpart: the nurture-and-nature narrative. It’s filled with pretty scenery, but its characterizations — wishy-washier than the tensely soapy Whisperer — collapse, to borrow the author’s phrasing, ”in one big, exhausted heap of wolf.” C