As part of The Colorado Sun’s literature section — SunLit — we’re featuring staff picks from book stores across the state. >> Click here for more SunLit

This week’s bookstore: Out West Books, 533 Main St., Grand Junction | @outwestbooks on TwitterInstagram

Nothing Short of Dying

By Eric Storey
Pocket Books
April 25, 2017

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From the publisher: Hailed as a “mega-adrenalized page turner” by Jonathan Kellerman and praised by The New York Times Book Review for its “tough-as-they-come hero [brought to life by] a first-time novelist who really knows how to handle himself,” this book imagines a lethal high-plains drifter in the modern West racing to rescue his sister from an army of killers.

From Marya at Out West Books:  Clyde Barr has had a hard life.  He’s made it through childhood abuse, prison in Mexico and as a soldier of fortune, scarred but alive.  The only person who truly understands his psyche is his sister, Jen…and she’s been kidnapped by a meth kingpin in western Colorado. 

Clyde joins forces with a barmaid named Allie, who is harboring a vendetta of her own against these people, to find and rescue his sister.  Mayhem ensues all over western Colorado and Storey’s descriptions of this part of the West are dead-on. They ought to be.  Eric’s family has been in western Colorado for over 100 years.  When he describes a dirt road through the quakies, you are there.  After a few sleepless nights from reading this book,  I swear I’ll never look at the rest stop in Rifle the same way!  

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Breaking Wild

By Diane les Becquets
Berkeley Books
Feb. 21, 2017

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From the publisher: When one woman goes missing in the Colorado wilderness, another becomes bent on discovering her whereabouts in this unforgettably moving, bestselling literary debut. Driven to spend days alone in the wilderness, Amy Raye Latour, mother of two, is compelled by the quiet and the rush of nature. But this time, her venture into a remote area leaves her on the verge of the precarious edge that she’s flirted with her entire life.

From Marya at Out West Books: Initially, I was reluctant to read this, since past experiences have taught me that reading about something with which I am well acquainted can be disappointing… and I am well acquainted with northwest Colorado.  Well, “Breaking Wild” did not disappoint!

Taking place in the Meeker/Rangely area (where Diane used to live), this is a story of two women who refuse to let their pasts define them.  They are survivors.  Strong women.  Diane really nails her descriptions of this part of the world.  You can imagine those blue skies above the sandstone ridges …you can almost smell the pinons and junipers. Diane won the Colorado Book Award for Fiction for this novel and the award was well deserved.


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Picnic in the Ruins

By Todd Robert Petersen
Counterpoint Press
Jan. 5, 2021

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From the publisher: Anthropologist Sophia Shepard is researching the impact of tourism on cultural sites in a remote national monument on the Utah-Arizona border when she crosses paths with two small-time criminals.  Their employer, a former lobbyist seeking lucrative monument land that may soon be open to energy exploration, sends a fixer to clean up their mess. Suddenly, Sophia must put her theories to the test in the real world, and the stakes are higher than she could have ever imagined.

From Marya at Out West Books:  They’re all here.  All the characters you could possibly run into in southern Utah are in this book.  The guy living in a bus in the desert with a tin foil hat,  the local artifact “collectors”, the polygamist sects, the washed up Hollywood actress living in a trailer park in the desert, busloads of Asian tourists and an aw-shucks kind of sheriff.  Picnic in the Ruins is a mystery, a thriller, a dark comedy, and most importantly a narrative on the west as it is now, a complex place dealing with it’s history, it’s mythology and ownership.  It’s a romp.

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