cover image Stolen Horses

Stolen Horses

Dan O'Brien, Univ. of Nebraska, $19.95 paper (324p) ISBN 978-0-8032-3108-5

Interconnected lives in the small western Nebraska town of McDermot navigate the rocky transition from rustic old ways to new money opportunities and opportunists in the slow-burning latest from O'Brien (Buffalo for the Broken Heart). As the two Thurston brothers—Bob, a self-pitying Vietnam vet, and Steve, an ambitionless carpenter—stand by helplessly while their father sells the family ranch to wealthy lawyer John Tully, Steve's single-mother girlfriend, local newspaper reporter Gretchen Harris, catches wind of a scandal at the local medical clinic. Meanwhile, the Thurston brothers' cousin, Carl Lindquist, a literature professor, returns to town after 30 years' absence to buy a swath of land and settle down, and Erwin Benson, the oldest serving district attorney in the state of Nebraska, is facing a possible re-election campaign against slick newcomer Tully. In excruciatingly gradual increments, O'Brien teases out the entanglements in these relationships; though it's painfully slow at times, once the narrative pieces click into place, the story takes on a stoic urgency as it digs into the raw divide between the old guard and the new. (Sept.)