From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. To say that these beautifully written, deceptively simple stories are loosely connected is to miss a large part of the point. The collection, divided into two geographical sections ("The Northeast Kingdom" and "The Fugitive West"), begins with a man trapped into becoming a drug informant; it ends with another man getting the same treatment from the authorities. All the stories, including three that have been published in recent Best American Mystery Stories
anthologies, share certain themes: life in prison; a fascination with guns and violence, even among men who aren't career criminals; the despair of working-class life, especially in jobs on the fringes of economically depressed areas. A man on a prison farm buries the bodies of dead convicts while a deer caught on an electric fence burns in the background. A gang of Hispanic fighters descends from Canada to challenge workers at a logging camp in bloody battles. Wolven's prose is as cold and sharp as an ice crystal: "If I'm not here day after tomorrow," a sheriff tells the narrator of "Atomic Supernova," "you go ahead and kill Bob Burke and we'll figure it all out later." Wolven's not as romantic or sympathetic as Hemingway, but it's hard to think that Papa wouldn't appreciate his artistry and imagination.
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"Dufris masterfully embodies each character with a hard-edged truthfulness." ---AudioFile
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