Lone Women

Books on Tape. Mar. 2023. 9:12 hrs. ISBN 9780593611067. $76. HORROR
LaValle (The Changeling) offers a magical take on the classic Western. The Montana plains are vast—rife with opportunities for people to make their fortune or disappear entirely. Adelaide Henry has come from California to do both, but her quest is complicated by her always-locked steamer trunk, which tends to make people disappear when it’s opened. LaValle includes all the trappings of the Western genre—guns, nooses, and savage acts of cruelty—but he also paints from a palette of stunningly descriptive words. Far from being one-dimensional archetypes, LaValle’s richly drawn characters have their own backstories, motivations, and, most important, locked-up skeletons. Joniece Abbott-Pratt’s voicework gives life to all these diverse characters and their emotions, from a young boy’s vengeance-driven anger to a matriarch’s civilly delivered contempt. The story’s fantastical elements highlight the strangeness of the landscape and the physical and emotional toll exacted by long-held secrets.
VERDICT LaValle’s gorgeous prose and dynamic characters, combined with the horrific supernatural, make for a compelling listen. Share with fans of Alma Katsu, Erin E. Adams, and Isabel Cañas.
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