Thursday, July 12, 2012

Beauty in Dark Hands – a review of Bruce Holbert’s Lonesome Animals

I'm not fan of formal literary criticism, the talk of theme, of plot, of derivative characters of hundred year old books, and every other reason a critic can find to place a book into a small compartment, mostly commented on snootily as—genre fiction.  As a reader, I want a story.  A good story backed up with good, solid writing, that takes me away from my world, and into the world the writer creates.  Lonesome Animals does that, and more—it breaks the bounds of genre and tosses them out the window.  It’s a Western, a mystery, a serial killer thriller, a travel guide, a literary novel bent heavily to tragic side of life. Descriptions are poetic, flawlessly simple, and evocative of a place I’m not even sure exists any more. Reading the dialogue is like eavesdropping on a conversation.  It doesn’t get any better than that.  Holbert has succeeded in his attempt to write a big novel. Russel Strawl is such a great character, that I expected him to appear behind me when I closed the book.  There’s no question I’m a huge fan of Westerns and mysteries, and now there’s no question that I’m a fan of Holbert’s, too.  I can’t wait to see what he does next.  I know this is high praise, but this the best book I've read this year.  I hope readers find this book--it's not on any Best Seller lists that I know of, but it should be.   


Ron Scheer said...

Just got a copy. Looking forward especially now to reading it.

Larry D. Sweazy said...

I'll be interested in your take on it, Ron.