Review: All Things Left Wild by James Wade

☆☆➹⁀☆ 4 stars☆➹⁀☆☆

About the Book:

After an attempted horse theft goes tragically wrong, sixteen-year-old Caleb Bentley is on the run with his mean-spirited older brother across the American Southwest at the turn of the twentieth century. Caleb’s moral compass and inner courage will be tested as they travel the harsh terrain and encounter those who have carved out a life there, for good or ill.

Wealthy and bookish Randall Dawson, out of place in this rugged and violent country, is begrudgingly chasing after the Bentley brothers. With little sense of how to survive, much less how to take his revenge, Randall meets Charlotte, a woman experienced in the deadly ways of life in the West. Together they navigate the murky values of vigilante justice.

Powerful and atmospheric, lyrical and fast-paced, All Things Left Wild is a coming-of-age for one man, a midlife odyssey for the other, and an illustration of the violence and corruption prevalent in our fast-expanding country. It artfully sketches the magnificence of the American West as mirrored in the human soul. 



My Thoughts:

I read James Wade’s debut novel, All Things Left Wild, after reading his second novel. His writing is crisp yet poetic, concise yet highly descriptive. His stories are both visceral and intellectual.

All Things Left Wild is told from the point of view of a teen and an older man. It is a sweeping saga set in historic, southwest Texas. I felt I was riding along with the characters because the author’s descriptions are so picturesque. There is an overwhelming feeling of oppression and corruption that brings to mind questions of not only how society defines masculinity but also how our choices define our course in life and our eventual legacy. 

All Things Left Wild has a slow-burn plot that highlights Mr. Wade’s exemplary storytelling. It is filled with bravado and poetry.

About the Author: James Wade is a Spur Award and Reading the West Award-winning fiction author with twenty short stories published in various literary journals and magazines. His debut novel, All Things Left Wild, was released June 16, 2020 from Blackstone Publishing. Wade’s second novel, River, Sing Out was released June 8, 2021 from Blackstone Publishing. His next novel Beasts of the Earth will be released October 11, 2022 from Blackstone Publishing.

James lives in the Texas Hill Country, with his wife and daughter. He is an active member of the Writers’ League of Texas.

© Copyright 2022 Book Junkie Reviews. All rights reserved.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: