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Black River
by S. M. Hulse

Published: 2015-01-20
Hardcover : 240 pages
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A tense Western and an assured debut, Black River tells the story of a man marked by a prison riot as he returns to the town, and the convict, who shaped him.  When Wes Carver returns to Black River, he carries two things in the cab of his truck: his wife’s ashes and a letter from the ...
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Introduction

A tense Western and an assured debut, Black River tells the story of a man marked by a prison riot as he returns to the town, and the convict, who shaped him.
 
When Wes Carver returns to Black River, he carries two things in the cab of his truck: his wife’s ashes and a letter from the prison parole board. The convict who held him hostage during a riot, twenty years ago, is being considered for release.

Wes has been away from Black River ever since the riot. He grew up in this small Montana town, encircled by mountains, and, like his father before him and most of the men there, he made his living as a Corrections Officer. A talented, natural fiddler, he found solace and joy in his music. But during that riot Bobby Williams changed everything for Wes — undermining his faith and taking away his ability to play.

How can a man who once embodied evil ever come to good? How can he pay for such crimes with anything but his life? As Wes considers his own choices and grieves for all he’s lost, he must decide what he believes and whether he can let Williams walk away.

With spare prose and stunning detail, S. M. Hulse drops us deep into the heart and darkness of an American town.

Editorial Review

An Amazon Best Book of the Month, January 2015: Black River is a portrait of a man shaped by the unforgiving landscape of the west – its beauty and violence and the haunting memories that fill a life. Wesley Carver is a retired corrections officer who twenty years ago was kidnapped and viciously tortured in a prison riot. After living in Spokane for 18 years, he’s come back to his home in Black River, Montana to scatter his beloved wife’s ashes, and to attend the parole hearing for the man that tortured him, destroying his hands and taking away the one thing that made him complete: playing the fiddle. Hulse gracefully unfolds the story of Wes’s past: his fraught relationship with his step-son, his father’s lonely death, and his abled hands, which "made music for the moon and the stars.” By turns angry, grieving, violent, and compassionate, Wes wrestles to find his faith, hide his fear, and move on from the two things that he’s loved. Black River is a sure-footed and powerfully drawn debut. --Alexandra Woodworth

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by cbraud (see profile) 10/28/16

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