Rarely do I read a book that has such a despicable main character that I feel compelled to read on to ensure he is punished appropriately. Cold Quiet County is one of those novels. The evil in this novel doesn’t reside only in the person of Sheriff Bittersmith of the town of Bittersmith, rather it worms its way out and infects the other townspeople. The man Bittersmith hunts, an orphan and farmhand named Gail G’waine, is the only truly decent person in this corrupt town, but even he realizes that decency is no weapon against evil. The pace of the novel is brisk. At times, pulled along by the writing, I fell victim to Clayton Lindemuth’s deft sleight of hand and discovered I’d misinterpreted the action. Finding out my mistakes made the story even better.
This is not a novel for people who desire calm, straight paths that lead to a neatly wrapped up ending. This is for people who love the chaotic feeling of not knowing where the story is going or who to trust. Lindemuth creates monsters a reader wants brought to justice and a hero who knows he’s going to lose, but still carries on. Expect this novel to stir strong emotions.
This book has GUTS…I was immediately sucked in within the first chapter and could not put it down. Lindemuth’s ability to weave filaments of each character’s life through the story was well done as was his ability to show Evil that truly is some human beings. It took everything in me to not read the end to see if justice was served. This story enraged me, this story lit hope in me, this story made me realize how being silent and not getting involved is the coward’s way out. Cold Quiet Country’s hero was no coward…merely a boy but with the heart of a lion.
Cold Quiet Country is a superb literary novel. I was invested in the characters, which made it impossible to set the book aside. This book reminded me why I love reading. I get to escape to a different time and place. Awesome!
A serious page turner!! I am NOT a fan of fiction, but once I started reading, I read straight through in a weekend, barely stopping to eat or sleep. The action is compelling and the characters’ different voices are totally engaging. Although the subject matter is disturbing, some of the dry humor and wit lightened the read and had me laughing. What a wild ride!!
Although fiction is not my typical preferred genre, I decided to give Cold Quiet Country a shot. I’m quite glad I did. I can envision all of these scenes quite vividly through the clever descriptiveness of the scenes that the author brought forth. However, it doesn’t come off as trying to be annoyingly intellectual thanks to its moments of humor and the peppering of vulgarity throughout. This is not just for some cheap shock value, the profanity serves the purpose of impacting the story line, to give an accurate and poignant view of the story’s antagonist.
The book has the occasional word that may make the reader run for a dictionary, but if you are a wordophile like I am, you will enjoy the added stimulation provided. The only discomfort I felt with this book was the graphic detail describing the way in which animals were being slaughtered for butchering, which is a concept I am sensitive to, so I passed up those paragraphs but it in no way hampered my comprehension of the story and actually enhanced the effect of the sometimes brutal undertones of the story.
This book was incredibly well thought out and intelligently written. I am looking forward to seeing what Clayton Lindemuth comes up with next.
Wow, really impressive debut effort from this new author! Completely honest, heartbreaking account of abuse and corruption. Extremely well written, I couldn’t put it down! Buy this book – you will not be disappointed! There’s even an element of the supernatural to make the story just a bit more extraordinary… definately worth it!
This is one of those stories that stays with you long after you’ve finished. And THAT is a wonderful thing. Lindemuth is a master with setting, character and phrasing. I sunk into this book like a fat man on a cushy couch- it was just as hard to escape. I’m not going to spoil the story, or even tell you who my favorite characters were, or the best scenes. Nope. You have to buy it, read it and tell others. I’d recommend this book to readers, writers… anyone. If this doesn’t make it to the big screen, something is wrong in the world, and if Lindemuth doesn’t write a sequel, I’ll be surprised and very, very disappointed.
"Lindemuth's impressive debut...is a go-for-the-jugular country noir... Lindemuth carefully weaves characters' backstories into this thrilling narrative, and his visceral prose and unsparing tone are wonderfully reminiscent of such modern rural noir masters as Tom Franklin and Donald Ray Pollock."
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Every state's got a gang of men with guns and tattered U.S. Constitutions stowed next to their dog-eared John Birch pamphlets. Bitching about government makes men happy, and in recent times, country folk have been fucking euphoric. Rumor was the boys in my neck of the woods were getting rowdy and ready to switch gears from talking to walking. I don't mind ten men at a hunting camp chucking bottles and blasting away. Any fella dumb enough to get drunk around a crew with guns half deserves a bullet. But I got a tip. One of the wives overheard talk of linking the local group with some radical faction out of Denver and marching with guns to Washington to take the country back from the jigs and the Jews. A sheriff can't truck with that, but in a county of twenty thousand, everybody knows everybody, almost. At least the men who would be of age and frame of mind to join such a group knew everyone else who might be. I didn't have anyone to put inside.
From the back cover…
Set in small town Wyoming in the 70s and unfolding in a single day, Clayton Lindemuth's debut novel,Cold Quiet Country, explores small-town corruption and the lengths some people will go to exact revenge.
With a deft hand and sinister eye, Clayton Lindemuth reminds us that the green, idyllic landscape of Middle America can suddenly become an ominous backdrop for violence and treachery.
Suspenseful, intelligent, and bold, COLD QUIET COUNTRY brings a new edge to the world of modern noir and readers will no longer be able to look upon rolling hills, pastoral fields, and picturesque barns without a sense of foreboding.
Copyright © 2013
I look at Liz. At some point she's going to decide what she wants to do. She's in the house where it all happened, the refuge that was the site of her terror, at the hands of the man whose politics maybe included her in the town's ostracism. She's a cagey creature, this girl who doesn't know how to be a girl. She glances at me and suddenly I'm in Burt Haudesert's kitchen, at the table. Jordan's at my elbow and Gwen is opposite, and she's got that same stare as Liz does now. She's looking straight at the center of the table. Her jaw is set but her brow is soft. There's concentration in her eyes, but no anger or consternation. Her heart's probably beating like a rabbit flushed from the briar, but outward she's spaced out and for the life of me I'll never understand how a man can do that to a girl.
And there's Sunday. Speak of the Devil. The man at the head of the family, defending it.
He's three steps away but ten times stronger and faster than me. But there are more guns on my side of the battlefront. And frankly I don't give a shit.
"Liz, are you going to kill him, or what?"