“A gripping murder story and incandescent moral fable, set in hardscrabble Eastern Washington during the Great Depression.” —The Seattle Times
In Lonesome Animals, Arthur Strawl, a tormented former lawman, is called out of retirement to hunt a serial killer with a sense of the macabre who has been leaving elaborately carved bodies of Native Americans across three counties. As the pursuit ensues, Strawl’s own dark and violent history weaves itself into the hunt, shedding light on the remains of his broken family: one wife taken by the river, one by his own hand; an adopted Native American son who fancies himself a Catholic prophet; and a daughter, whose temerity and stoicism contrast with the romantic notion of how the west was won.
In the vein of True Grit and Blood Meridian, Lonesome Animals is a western novel reinvented, a detective story inverted for the west. It contemplates the nature of story and heroism in the face of a collapsing ethos—not only of Native American culture, but also of the first wave of white men who, through the battle against the geography and its indigenous people, guaranteed their own destruction. But it is also about one man’s urgent, elegiac search for justice amidst the craven acts committed on the edges of civilization.
“Call it literary fiction, classic western realism, or historical noir, Holbert is a writer of formidable skill and this auspicious debut should have considerable crossover appeal.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“This book is audacious.” —Kirkus Reviews