Title: White Crosses
Publisher: Atria, New York, New York, U.S.A.
Publication Date: 1997
Book Condition: Fine
Dust Jacket Condition: Very Good Plus
Signed: Signed by Author(s)
Edition: First Edition.
Signed by Author 0671567713 This hardcover book is square and tight. The boards, spine, enpages and gilt/lettering are all pristine. The pages are clean, having no markings or folds. Signed by author on title page without date or inscription. The dustjacket is bright, and without wear, save a couple of smudges on the spine, and mild shelfwear. Original price is intact. Brodart protected. No remainder mark. Not ex-lib. Bookseller Inventory # 000813
Synopsis: Larry Watson's previous fiction evoking contemporary Western small-town life has won him awards, a dedicated readership, and unqualified critical praise. Now he has written a novel that envelops the rich emotional terrain of his beloved Montana in a mystery that is both unexpected and unforgettable.
After a nighttime accident at the bottom of Sprull Hill in Bentrock, Sheriff Jack Nevelsen is compelled to try and protect a part of his hometown that even a hero would have trouble saving -- its innocence. For most everyone in the community would agree that June Moss, the quiet girl who had just graduated from high school, and Leo Bauer, the principal of Bentrock Elementary and a married man like Jack, had no business heading out of town together.
As Jack sets out to unravel the mystery of their deaths, he begins to create a story to shield his town, a lie that will reverberate throughout an entire community, and into the shadows of his own heart.
Review: This is no tale bred from the misguided nostalgia for an older, rural West, although it is set in the presumably less complicated 1950s; rather, it's a tale of moral manipulation and a bone-deep resignation that leads people to come unhinged. Jack Nevelson, the sheriff of Bentrock, Montana, knows his town. His business, as he's come to define it, is to fit everything under the rubric of his stewardship. Nevelson receives a fateful call on the evening after Bentrock High School's graduation, leading him to the site of a tragic accident; there he discovers the bodies of two people who had no business being together in life, let alone death: the principal of the elementary school and a teenage girl, June Moss. Nevelson uncovers three packed suitcases in the wreckage of the accident. Were the two running off together? Nevelson decides to squelch the truth in favor of a less damning story in order to protect his town. But the lie creates a whole new set of problems for the sheriff and the people of Bentrock.
Thus unfolds a small-town saga of lives crippled by slender means--spiritual and material--and the desperation born of dead-end lives. Larry Watson's White Crosses is an ideal read for those who love the rich body of literature the West has produced, that which grapples with timely problems, both dwarfed and defined by the inimitable spaces, the uncultivable arid beauty, the pinched options, and the infinity of stars.
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