Lone Creek

Neil McMahon

Hugh Davoren is a shade-tree carpenter, having turned his back on academia, and is working on a big Montana ranch outside Helena. It’s a good gig, but things begin to unravel when he comes across the remains of two dead horses not buried deep enough at the ranch dump. In trying to figure out who—and why—anyone would do this to horses, he’s drawn into a web of nefarious goings-on and his own complicated history with the ranching dynasty. There’re laconic old-school ranchers whose word is their bond; meth-addled, gun-toting wannabes; and the ranch owner’s wife, who bears an uncanny resemblance to his flame-haired girl who died in an “accident” years ago. A vivid sense of place and narrative voice make for a thoughtful assaying of the collisions of the old and new Wests, cleverly disguised as a novel of detection.