White Crosses

Larry Watson, Author
Larry Watson, Author Atria Books $23 (384p) ISBN 978-0-671-56771-2
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-671-57620-2
Hardcover - 978-0-671-85913-8
Hardcover - 978-0-671-85695-3
Hardcover - 978-0-671-85694-6
Paperback - 978-0-671-70212-0
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-10341-1
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-14-027253-6
Book - 978-0-7435-4959-2
Hardcover - 384 pages - 978-0-7181-4195-0
Paperback - 384 pages - 978-0-671-56773-6
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The dark side of small-town life is again Watson's theme, as it was in his Milkweed Prize-winning Montana 1948. He may have overtaxed that territory. When Bentrock, Mont., sheriff Jack Nevelsen is called to the scene of an auto wreck on a May night in 1957, he finds the bodies of the married junior high-school principal, Leo Bauer, and 18-year-old June Moss, who had graduated from high school that day. Luggage in the car makes it obvious that the two were running away together. For reasons never made clear, the sheriff decides that he must protect the victims' reputations, even if it means stooping to lies, threats and deceit. Watson's choice of what to expound on (the backgrounds of various tangential characters) and what to leave undeveloped (the sources not only of Nevelson's behavior but also that of Bauer's son and wife) is puzzling. The prose is often lackluster, a flat contrast to the melodramatic events it recounts, and the secrets at the heart of the plot turn out to be contrived and unconvincing. Simultaneous audio; author tour. (June)
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