I can't quite tell if Jess Walter is poking fun at or painting an affectionate portrait of the Inland Northwest here, which is part of what makes this collection so great. The stories - most of which are set in or around Spokane - find characters in situations that feel unique to the region. Yet thanks to the unique cast Walters presents us with - including people who are homeless, recently-divorced, ex-cons - mixed with his knack for excellent deadpan dialogue, you don't have to be from the area to enjoy them.
Hot with violet urgency, and shrouded in the moss and fog of the rural Northwest, Vera Violet opens with the eponymous Vera on the run someplace deep in Montana, and does not let up until the final page. In between is something like the root system of a tall cedar, or the wiring Harness on an old pickup: tangled at first glance, but intricate as soon as you start to trace it. This is an unforgettable novel.
Amazing characters and regional history. One of my top 10 books of the year.
It was the time of the Great Depression and soon after Prohibition's end, when law-keeping was on shaky ground, when the line between cop and robber blurred and, for some, disappeared completely--a time when a good man might be killed over scarce and valuable . . . butter? Egan recounts the 1935 Spokane creamery robberies and the murder of Town Marshall George Conff--employing some novelistic techniques--then draws out the story to its fascinating resolution in 1989 when a number of the suspects and witnesses are still alive and still sitting tight on their secrets. Gripping, start to finish!