cover image Meadowlark: A Coming-of-Age Crime Story

Meadowlark: A Coming-of-Age Crime Story

Greg Ruth and Ethan Hawke. Grand Central, $26 (256p) ISBN 978-1-5387-1457-7

A troubled teen gets more than he bargained for in this Texas crime story, heavy with sticky-hot atmosphere and rippling with familial melodrama, from actor Hawke (A Bright Ray of Darkness) and Ruth (Indeh: A Story of the Apache Wars). Sick of his stepfather and expelled from school, Cooper tags along with his ex-boxer father Jack on his job as prison guard. But just after another guard gives Cooper a rundown on the characters in lockup—including Red, a bear-sized albino who has it in for Jack—a riot breaks out. As the pair escape, the lackadaisical family drama turns into a criminality-fueld roadtrip, including standoffs, a sleazy motel room, a cartel, a giant pile of cash, dark secrets, and a psychopath who calls himself Wolf Boy. Emotions ratchet up as Jack and Cooper navigate the plot’s hairpin turns while working out their relationship. Ruth’s naturalistic art and washed-out sandy coloring bring a timeless feel to the action while also highlighting its cinematic qualities (his rendering of sensitive, rakish Jack looks quite like Hawke). Neatly balancing pulpy thrills with well-observed father-son dynamics, this is a genre tale that punches above its weight. Agents: (for Hawke) Eric Simonoff, William Morris Endeavor; (for Ruth) Allen Spiegel, Allen Spiegel Fine Arts. (Aug.)