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Lindemuth’s impressive debut, set in the winter of 1971, 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. Agent: Cameron McClure, Donald Maass Literary. (Nov.) READ THE FULL PUBLISHERS WEEKLY REVIEW
The town of Bittersmith, Wyoming, is rarely the scene of a murder, but on a winter day in 1972, with a blizzard moving in, the sheriff takes the call from a farmer’s wife, who announces, “Gale G’Wain run him through with a pitchfork…” Lindemuth’s stunning first novel is all about good hunting down evil on a snowbound day, but common notions about good men no longer apply in the moral darkness that is Bittersmith… Gale takes a job at the Bittersmith farm of Burt Haudesert, where he discovers neither family nor community but a corrupt system of incest, sexual abuse, denial, and complicity, in which many of the men are of one extreme political persuasion or another.As Gale waits for his accusers, including Sheriff Bittersmith, to track him down, he reflects on his options: on one hand, “obedience and expeditiousness;” on the other, “standing against a world gone mad.” Through Gale, Lindemuth is unsparing in his advocacy of “an honorable fight.” Joe Taylor, September 28, 2012 READ THE FULL FOREWORD REVIEW
LITERARY OUTPOST REVIEW
Cold Quiet Country is filled with backstories, which is what makes the entire novel work. Gale has a backstory which he is trying to discover and piece together. The entire Haudesert family has a backstory that gradually comes to light as the novel moves forward. And Sheriff Bittersmith especially has a backstory, one that ties everything and everyone in the novel together and moves the action forward. The drive for justice by Gale, and the perverted drive for conclusion by Bittersmith, carries the novel to a bittersweet conclusion… The shootouts are yet to come for the reader, and I won’t elaborate on them, because they are the meat that sits on the table. Add some fire, add some ice, and read what comes together. I think you will enjoy your visit to Wyoming. READ THE FULL LITERARY OUTPOST REVIEW
CORNERSTONE COTTAGE REVIEW
Cold Quiet Country is not an easy book to read. Dealing with such everyday horrors as child sexual abuse and incest, it is not written for the faint-hearted. And yet, I couldn’t stop reading it. I would put it aside thinking I couldn’t take it any more, but then after a while, I would pick it up and keep reading, hoping life would improve for its characters. READ THE FULL CORNERSTONE COTTAGE REVIEW
THOUGHTS OF JOY… Thoughts
Oh my. This was quite a book.The good news: I absolutely loved the suspense created by the cat and mouse action. Suspense is what keeps me glued to the pages and lost in the words, and this book delivered!
The bad news: Eek! It is filled with distasteful language and scenes. It is very raw, crude and graphic in medical, farming and se*ual situations. Not pleasant at all! For women especially, it is enraging. Thankfully the setting is in the 70s, so there’s hope that this no longer exists, but it sure makes you want to stay clear of small towns! There also is a paranormal element to the story, but it did not affect me in a negative way…
It was a great diversion, but this sort of novel could not be my reading diet. However, I am grateful to have had the experience of being so engrossed even though I was disgusted and angered a LOT! READ THE FULL THOUGHTS OF JOY REVIEW
"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?"