High Lonesome Road

Thornton, Betsy

Published by Thomas Dunne Books, 2001
ISBN 10: 0312268610 / ISBN 13: 9780312268619
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First Printing of the First Edition. Signed by Betsy Thornton. Book and dust jacket in fine, as new condition. Bookseller Inventory #

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Synopsis: In her debut novel, The Cowboy Rides Away, Betsy Thornton amazed reviewers with her vivid description of Cochise County, AZ and the people who live there. Now five years later readers are taken back to the harshness of the desert and to Chloe Newcomb, a victim advocate with the Cochise County Attorney's Office. Chloe's responsibilities include counseling those who have witnessed an act of violence or whose lives have been affected by violence.Her latest assignment is to counsel a woman who found the body of the county's bookmobile driver riddled with bullets.Chloe has been on calls like this before, but she is not prepared for the shock of knowing the victim. Erica Hill, a flamboyant and independent woman, was once a friend of Chloe's beloved deceased brother. Chloe hadn't seen Erica in years until a few months earlier when Erica showed up at one of her volunteer training sessions. Full of guilt over not keeping in touch with Erica, Chloe embarks on an independent investigation. Her search involves Erica's teenage son, her jealous sister and a defense lawyer who seems to take an overly strong interest in the case.What Chloe discovers is a secret so dark that even after Erica's death it still has the power to damage the lives of everyone around her. AUTHORBIO: Betsy Thornton lives in Bisbee, Arizona, where she works for the Cochise County Attorney's Victim Witness Program as a victim compensation advocate and a victim advocate.

Review: Penzler Pick, March 2001: To talk about murder in a bookmobile is to invite jokes about those cozy mysteries where "hard-boiled" describes only the deviled egg platter at some PTA lunch. However, in Betsy Thornton's High Lonesome Road, that's just where it does occur, mere pages into her second novel featuring Chloe Newcombe.

This complicated, stubborn, and likeable heroine, who made her debut in The Cowboy Rides Away, is a divorced New Yorker now transplanted to Arizona's high desert region where she's taken a job as a victim's advocate with the county attorney's office. (Her creator writes from on-the-job experience: Thornton herself works helping crime victims and witnesses in a rural Arizona county.) Here Chloe must again endure a wrenching personal involvement, this time because the murdered woman (the bookmobile driver whose body has been found riddled with bullets, a book clutched to her chest) had long ago been a friend of Chloe's adored older brother, himself also now dead and deeply mourned.

Thornton has been described as a writer possessing "a real feeling for those whose nerves have been rubbed raw by life" (Publishers Weekly). Cochise County, Arizona, after all, is a catchment area for the outcast, the oddball, the loner, and the lost soul, a place where even the ordinary citizens have made a definite choice about how much--or how little--mileage to keep between themselves and the dangerous edge. And, as Chloe Newcombe says, "Let's face it, none of us goes that innocently about our lives. We live with anger and pain every day, live in secrecy; it's just part of living." Her quest for the truth leads to the usual scabbed-over ancient crime and the usual desperate need to forget/remember, and Chloe holds our attention because she is an unusual figure keeping to a set of rules all her own. Like Elwood Reid's Midnight Sun, another recent book set in a vividly evoked harsh landscape (off-the-map Alaskan back country), High Lonesome Road is as compelling for its psychic geography as it is for its unspooling mystery plot. Thornton's noir is desert-bleached, touched with a feminine sensibility, but tough all the same. --Otto Penzler

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Bibliographic Details

Title: High Lonesome Road
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
Publication Date: 2001
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Fine
Edition: First Edition

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