- Hardcover: 256 pages
- Publisher: Permanent Press (October 25, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1579623360
- ISBN-13: 978-1579623364
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 57 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,598,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Montana Hardcover – October 25, 2013
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Returning from assignment in Afghanistan, foreign correspondent Lola Wicks is looking forward to a restful reentry at a friend’s Montana cabin. Instead, she’s greeted by her former colleague’s corpse. Lola learns that Mary Alice had been writing for the local paper, digging into the past of Native American gubernatorial candidate Johnny Running Wolf. Lola doesn’t trust that the local sheriff has the skills to find Mary Alice’s killer, so she extends her stay and uses her investigative expertise to reconstruct Mary Alice’s last days. She learns that there’s a lot more than meets the eye going on in Magpie, Montana. Beyond the unemployment and the anti-meth billboards, there’s big money to be made in the mountains—enough to kill for. The sparsely populated Big Sky setting will be one of the major sources of appeal for readers of this gripping debut mystery. --Karen Keefe
''Outstanding . . . Quirky and cantankerous, Lola is grudgingly willing to learn from experience. Believable action complements razor-sharp observations of people and scenery.'' --Publishers Weekly, starred review
''Crammed with atmosphere and intriguing characters . . . Florio dips into her own background to make the protagonist competent and believable . . . The author does a great job of writing a book that's both evocative of the Montana countryside and a satisfying, hair-raising ride. A promising debut.'' --Kirkus Reviews
''In Gwen Florio's entertaining debut, war correspondent Lola Wicks finds the greatest threat to her safety is not dodging bullets in Afghanistan but discovering who killed her friend and fellow correspondent in Magpie, Montana. Florio knows her territory. She gives us wind on the high plains and the soft and velvety nose of a horse hungry for sugar. There's fire in the hills, trouble in the governor's race, and a county awash in drugs. Magpie's the old West with daunting new problems, and the scrappy Lola Wicks takes them on.'' --Leonard Rosen, author of All Cry Chaos
''Lola is a layered and complex character -- smart, resourceful, and driven, a woman coming to a deeper understanding of how war and ambition have both damaged her and made her stronge . . . With a deft hand and rich, evocative descriptions of the Montana landscape, Florio weaves an intricate mystery with subtlety and finesse.'' --Jaden Terrell, author of Racing the Devil
''Drawing on her experiences covering everything from the killing fields of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia to home-grown American evil, Gwen Florio concocts a riveting tale of murder, hard times in a hard place, and the value of human bonds.'' --Howard Owen, author of Oregon Hill
''In her first novel, Gwen Florio demonstrates she's a good storyteller, but it's the irreverent, often cantankerous, indomitable protagonist Lola Wicks who will keep the reader turning pages to reach the exciting conclusion.'' --Connie Dial, author of Dead Wrong
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Gwen’s protagonist is a journalist and one assumes that the author’s experience in this field informs her work, but Lola Wicks, the leading character, is more than just her job, bringing grit, intelligence and a damn fine pitching arm to the mix. Citizens of the “global village” will want to READ Montana, even if they never get to visit us in Florio’s home state.
As a journalist, Gwen Florio was nominated by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Denver Post and the Missoulian for the Pulitzer Prize. Her short fiction has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. This rising Montana author brings this same excellence, attention to detail and perspicuity to her dynamic novels.
The writer's style is a sort of James Lee Burke light. Lots of adverbs and asides that don't move the story and are only moderately successful in creating mood or place. It takes a bit of getting used to. But the writing does produce a readable book and is better than much of the dreck that passes for writing these days in the mystery genre. Borrow it if you can, but it is worth the price to purchase.