In this stellar debut, it’s 1972, and Troy Falconer, a professional car thief, returns home to New Cona, Tex. Troy comes at the request of his younger brother, Harlan, whose wife, Bettie, has left him and taken all their money. The two brothers steal a car and hit the road in search of Bettie, unaware of the sleeping passenger in the backseat, Martha Zacharias, an 11-year-old runaway from a Mennonite community. She’s looking to be reunited with her father, Aron, who is doing time in a Juárez prison. Not wanting to be arrested for kidnapping, Troy and Harlan plan to drop Martha off at the nearest bus station, but they haven’t counted on Martha calling Aron to tell him their location, or Aron catching up with them as they are dropping Martha off. Interspersed with this odyssey through the Texas Panhandle are entries from Troy’s diary that detail his gradual descent into a life of crime, which, unfortunately, take time away from the contemporary story. Like the young heroines of She Rides Shotgun, Martha is a memorably single-minded heroine who can stand up to adults engaged in unlawful pursuits. Kennedy soberly etches a Texas landscape of violence and despair as vividly as anything by Larry McMurtry. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 06/04/2018 Release date: 08/21/2018 Genre: Fiction
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.