Haints Stay

Colin Winnette. Two Dollar Radio (Consortium, dist.), $16 trade paper (212p) ISBN 978-1-937512-32-3
Like many of the frontier lives it chronicles, Winnette’s new novel (after Coyote) is short and brutish. Its two main characters, the brothers Brooke and Sugar, are contract killers, operating in and around the Western everyville of Wolf Creek (in an unspecified period of America’s past resembling the Wild West). After their latest kill, they flee into the wilderness, where they are joined briefly by Bird, an adolescent boy with no memory of his past. A series of violent encounters entangles the three in the dog-eat-dog environment of the West, including pursuit by henchmen and their eventual capture by vigilante bounty hunters. Before the novel ends, there’s cannibalism, an amputation, a bloody jailhouse shoot-out, a surprise birth, and the slaughter of a town’s entire population. There is little romance to the Wild West as Winnette depicts it: the landscape is all “rock and vastness,” and “between each of the towns was pure wilderness, and what came bearing down upon civilization was beyond imagination.” Winnette’s laconic observations about his characters—he describes the young Brooke and Sugar as “not being good boys... on the cusp of not becoming good men”—and their bleak personal philosophy (“there was no logic to life and no road that could take you straight elsewhere”) accentuate the grimness of this portrait of the frontier as a place where desperation and death were always near at hand. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/06/2015
Release date: 06/01/2015
Genre: Fiction
Open Ebook - 212 pages - 978-1-937512-33-0
Paperback - 224 pages - 978-1-84344-834-1
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