Clayton Lindemuth’s debut novel Cold Quiet Country is set in 1971 Wyoming during a massive blizzard. It’s the hugely corrupt Sheriff Bittersmith’s last day on the job and he’s out to get Gale G’Wain, a farmhand who stabbed his employer through the neck with a pitchfork and took to the woods with the farmer’s daughter Gwen. But before Bittersmith can reach him Gale, holed up in an abandoned but well-stocked gun-wise house, has gotta fight off a bunch of militiamen who want revenge for the death of one of their own.
Though it may sound like a straight-forward, ticking clock suspense novel, Cold Quiet Country takes its time developing these characters through flashbacks, strengthening the relationships between Bittersmith, Gwen and Gale with each chapter while dropping clues about the novel’s many sinister late-in-the-book revelations. When the violence finally comes around it is indeed gloriously and brutally depicted, but the real reason you keep reading is for Lindemuth’s complex and wounded characters and his strong, just-shy-of-*too*-poetic prose.
To really get into the meat of the novel is to spoil its many secrets, but once you read the first chapter, which involves Bittersmith blackmailing a girl into a BJ on his last day of work, I guarantee you’ll be wrapped up in this fucker toot-sweet. Give this Lindemuth guy a chance, dear reader. If you like your book-readin’ to lean heavily toward the dark side (which, you know, should be the only reason you ever read my reviews in the first place), it’s doubtful you’ll be disappointed in the fucking slightest.