Coyote Morning
Lisa Lenard-Cook

University of New Mexico Press
Hardcover/200 pages
ISBN: 0-8263-3466-0
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". . . demonstrates how humanity's inner struggles parallel the continual clash between civilization and nature."

". . . a mood of palpable expectation and tension."

Then she and the coyote stood. Studying each other. Sizing each other up. Weighing their options. Their fears. Their desires.


A lone coyote approaches single mother Alison Lomez''s seven-year-old daughter Rachel at the bus stop one morning and suddenly both their lives change. Naturalist Natalie Harold finds herself being hounded by local villagers because of her letters to the editor supporting the coyote population after a series of recent incidents where domestic animals have been killed. Young Rachel Lomez decides to name her new coyote friend Chris, after her absent father, in hopes he''ll stay and Mommy will stop pretending she isn''t so angry all the time.

In Coyote Morning author Lisa Lenard-Cook demonstrates how humanity''s inner struggles parallel the continual clash between civilization and nature, all against the backdrop of a small New Mexico town.

A long-ago escapee from Manhattan, Natalie discovers a noble calling in saving the coyote, yet she herself has never met one face to face and can little sympathize with those who have. Despite her solitary existence and constant introspection, she still can''t figure out why she worries so much about what people think of her. And she wonders if she is sporting blinders when it comes to seeing life how it truly is.

After the coyote incident at the bus stop, Natalie convinces Alison that Rachel''s coyote friend will not hurt her. However, Alison worries her unsubstantiated fears for her child''s safety are indicative of her own inability to accept responsibility for her failed marriage and come to terms with her verbally abusive ex-husband. When Natalie''s brother Sherman arrives in town from Denver after another business failure, Alison finds herself drawn to the handsome and intelligent man, instantly trusting him more than she has ever trusted anyone before. But is Sherman in reality a coyote who will take advantage of an opportunity and then swiftly move on?

Lenard-Cook weaves a mood of palpable expectation and tension as Natalie and Alison deal with their respective crises of the heart. The coyote becomes a symbol of them and their inner conflicts—essentially wild and free yet easily hurt or humiliated by others. An easy and thought-provoking read—in spite of the author''s abhorrence for using quotation marks in dialogue—Coyote Morning leaves the reader with the sense that some wild things were never meant to be tamed.

Reviewer: Cindy Appel