Rare Bird Books
By Tyler Allen Explore Big Sky Senior Editor
Burt Weissbourd’s sophomore novel is a strange and riveting take on a dystopian version of Yellowstone National Park.
“In Velvet” describes the northwest corner of Yellowstone Park as closed for bear management and Rachel, a bear biologist, is discovering some startling animal behavior – grizzlies denning in June, swans at their wintering grounds in summer, and what appear to be Irish Elk, an extinct species, with huge palmated antlers.
“Rachel tried to explain it some other way,” Weissbourd writes. “She couldn’t. She felt suddenly very anxious. Things she relied on were coming undone. It didn’t make sense, but there it was – bear #146 had apparently dug a den. In June.”
She also observes some horrific mutations in the young – elk calves with no front legs, earless bear cubs, and eaglets without wings. Discovering what has gone wrong, why the area is closed, and who’s covering up these animal abnormalities in the park takes the reader along a thrilling ride.
“In Velvet” takes you deep into the hearts of a hard case local detective and a Chicago cop as they take on a corrupt sheriff, a pathalogical poacher, and a lethal black ops manager to solve this mystery and restore the natural order in Yellowstone.
Weissbourd’s first novel, “Inside Passage” was published in 2013 and earlier in his career he produced many notable films, including “Ghost Story,” starring Fred Astaire, and “Raggedy Man,” with Sissy Spacek and Sam Shepard.