“Godspeed,” by Nickolas Butler (Putnam)
When a wealthy woman approaches True Triangle Construction about building a $40 million home near Jackson Hole in just four months, the three company owners are wary. Who is the mysterious owner? Why the rush? And what happened to the original contractor?
The contractors are ambitious and greedy, however, and when the woman promises a $500,000-plus bonus, they accept. The three are willing to sacrifice family and health as they fight both time and weather to meet an impossible Christmas deadline. When tragedy strikes, they wonder if the job is worth it.
The True Triangle partners are childhood friends, trying to make a living in a town that is polarized between the ultra-rich and the blue-collar workers who service them.
“Godspeed” is set against a lush Jackson Hole background of mountains and meadows, mineral springs and wildlife. It contracts the lifestyles of the very rich against the working poor and the distain of wealthy faux cowboys for the real thing.
“High Country Justice,” by Nik James (Sourcebooks)
Caleb Marlowe is a traditional Western hero. Handsome, honest, loyal, fearless and strong enough to wrestle a cougar. He’s also an appealing character and bound to be popular with readers in this first of three Caleb Marlowe novels.
Written by Nik James (the husband-wife team of Nikoo and Jim McGoldrick), “High Country Justice” is set in Colorado in 1878. An outlaw gang is raiding Wells Fargo stages, and the local judge wants Marlowe to find them. Forget the sheriff. Nobody trusts him.
In addition, Marlowe’s friend, the local doctor, has disappeared, and if that isn’t enough, the doctor’s New York daughter shows up on an unexpected visit.
The story is filled with heinous outlaws, plenty of shootouts (half a dozen men lie dead in the first pages), heroic acts and twists and turns. The stagecoach robbers are not your average bunch of outlaws. The ending is a nice surprise, and it’s no spoiler to say that Marlowe survives to appear in subsequent novels.
“Twilight Man,” by Liz Brown (Penguin)
Montana copper baron William A. Clark was one of America’s richest men. He built a grotesque mansion in New York City and shocked society when he wed his ward, who was decades younger. (His daughter by that marriage, Hughuette Clark, was a famous New York recluse who left her fortune to her hospital attendant.)
Son Will Jr. (by Clark’s first wife) had a secret that could have caused an even greater scandal. He was gay, in an era that considered homosexuality a crime. Despite two apparently happy marriages that produced a son, he had a coterie of gay friends and for years supported a young lover who looked like Rudolph Valentino.
The lover, Harrison Post, was the Jewish son of a ne’er-do-well. He met Will while clerking in a fashionable men’s store in 1919. Will bought mansions for Post, took him on expensive trips to Europe and gave him a monthly stipend. Will used Harrison’s face on 13 cherubs painted on the ceiling of his mansion. When rumors emerged about Will’s “temperamental” (code word for gay) lifestyle, he became a civic benefactor, establishing (among other things) the Hollywood Bowl.
Post lived an exciting life, surrounded by movie stars and society types. He never worried about a thing, until Will died. Then life turned dark as his sister and her husband took control of him and his fortune.
Author Liz Brown, a distant relative by marriage to Will, tells of the privileged life Montana copper gave Will Clark and his fear of exposure.
“Stargazer,” by Anne Hillerman (HarperCollins)
When Tony Hillerman died, it seemed that his beloved Navajo characters, police officers Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee, would be buried with him. But Hillerman’s daughter Anne took over, and with her fifth book, has established herself as a worthy successor. Hillerman often writes from the viewpoint of officer Bernadette Manuelito, Chee’s wife.
In “Stargazer,” Bernie discovers a woman tied to a chair and left to die. In the bedroom is a dead infant. In addition, Bernie’s college roommate, Maya, confesses to the murder of her estranged husband. Bernie doesn’t believe the confession, but Maya refuses to explain. Frustrated, Bernie sets out to find the truth. She delves into the dead man’s career as an astronomer and winds up on a remote part of the Navajo reservation gazing at the stars.
While all this is going on, Chee is temporarily filling in as Bernie’s boss, which causes friction between the two. And Leaphorn, who is helping Bernie find the identity of the dead baby, has his own challenges.
Despite the dangers they face, the three characters come through in traditional Hillerman style and live, we hope, to star in another Hillerman novel.
“She Left The Babies In The Bed,” by Elaine Crume (Illumify Media)
It was a crumb of family gossip. Some 150 years ago, her great-great-grandmother left her babies in their bed and ran off with a drummer. Who wouldn’t be intrigued? Denver author Elaine Crume was curious why a woman of that time would desert her children. She decided to explore the story in fiction.
Lydia’s mother fails to bond with her daughter. The girl’s salvation is her uncle, who promises to send her to college. But when the time comes, there’s no money. Her parents have secretly given it to Albert, a man they’ve chosen as Lydia’s husband. Then Lydia learns that Duncan, the man she loves, is dead.
With no future, Lydia marries Albert, who rapes her on their wedding night and abuses her throughout the marriage. After giving birth to three children, Lydia discovers Duncan is alive after all and plots her escape.
Crume’s first novel explores the plight of mid-18th century women who had few options besides marriage. It is both a love story and a cautionary tale for Victorian women who dared to follow their hearts.
Source: Read Full Article