EXCERPT - ENDING OF CHAPTER ONE
Later, long after dark, Esther sat by the window and kept a watchful eye on the deeper blackness under the ramada, taking comfort in the weight of the scattergun across her knees.
She knew nothing about those men. The memory of the old Indian’s knife—which grew larger as the night wore on—drove her to recheck the gun’s chambers, and she felt in her pocket for the extra shells. Howard had been gone less than three full days and already she doubted her ability to keep her children safe.
Voices drifted from the yard. She drummed her fingers on the gun’s stock as she considered the way that man had looked at Mary. Who had he mistaken her for? What ghosts haunted him? She thought of her precious baby Ida, in the little grave behind the house.
One of the children coughed, followed by the soft sound of bodies shifting on pallets in the loft above her. Did they hear the coyotes yipping from the ridge behind the cabin or the frogs' rattling trill at the spring? One more muffled cough from above before the cabin fell silent. When did she last enjoy such peaceful sleep? She prayed for the day when she would spend less time regretting her decisions than making them. She blew out the lamp and rested her hands on the scattergun.
A glow on the horizon brightened and spread over the hills, heralding a gibbous moon's ascent into a star speckled sky.
What they're saying about CHASM CREEK:
NEW - KIRKUS REVIEW:
But the real drama of this novel involves the heartbreaking back stories of Morgan and Ruben, their friendship, and the relationships that develop between each of them and Esther. Hope and tragedy alternate throughout pages suffused with pathos. Native American mysticism mingles with Western violence as the past haunts the present in a twisting plotline. And the visceral prose is evocative of the dry Southwestern landscape . . . This engaging narrative with memorable characters features supernatural overtones that lead to an unsettling finale. Kirkus Reviews Read the entire reviewHERE
The heart of the book is ... the way in which the human story draws you into the vastness of the western landscapes. You emerge from this book with a sense that the world is very large, and that with a little perseverance, a person might find all manner of beauty in it.
Goodreads review by Richard Abbot of The Review, United Kingdom
Read the full review HERE
As we root for the hero and heroine of the story, it's interesting to watch them develop and become whole as they draw close to each other. But this isn't just a tidy, formulaic Harlequin romance. Filled with betrayal, nasty villains, some blood and guts and shoot-'em-ups, there are many twists and turns before we reach the end. Modern women will likely identify with Esther who will do anything to protect her children, who perseveres through every trial and tribulation, and who comes out stronger in the end.
Story Circle Book Reviews
Read entire review HERE
CHASM CREEK is the debut of a great new voice in western literature. Patricia Grady Cox is a fine storyteller, who peoples a landscape so real you can smell the dust, with remarkable and authentic characters. We'll want to hear more from her.
Thomas (Crazy Heart) Cobb, author of
With Blood in Their Eyes, Shavetail, and Darkness the Color of Snow
". . . writing to tell you how much I enjoyed Chasm Creek. The story drew me in but one of your special gifts is your ability tomake the landscape come alive for readers. I felt like I was right there every step of the way. The vivid descriptions give you an authentic voice. Well done, Trish! Congratulations!"
Ann Weisgarber, author of
A literature periodically must circle back to its origins, to the source of its power. Ours, like the country itself, is indelibly based on frontier tales, and it's been a great pleasure to watch Patricia Grady Cox, ever more surely, revisit them.
James Sallis, author of Drive
Chasm Creek, a story of love, loss and fate entwined, brings to life a keen sense of place. Patricia Grady Cox’s descriptions are so vivid and richly detailed, I often wanted to linger, to savor the moment. On the other hand, the book is a captivating, fast-paced read. Cox is highly skilled in bringing the Southwest, its landscape, authentic characters and language, to life.
Mary Trimble, author of memoir, mainstream and coming-of-age novels with contemporary western settings.
Read the complete review here: Mary Trimble Book Reviews
Patricia Grady Cox might be from Rhode Island, but she writes about the Southwest as if she's lived there her whole life. Her descriptions of the spirits of the Navajo draw the reader into almost believing such beings really do exist. In describing the landscape of an early mining town, her vivid prose brings the scene to life in this passage, "A hot wind blasted dirt down the main street and rickety shutters banged against sand-scoured buildings that looked mostly deserted." This book does a great job of transporting the reader back to the days of the old West with a plot line that will keep you interested and reading to the end.
C.K. Thomas, author of the Arrowstar Series
A tough, well-written book about a gritty, real west story. You won't be disappointed.
Dusty Richards, author of Texas
Book four of the Frank Brothers Series
This isn’t just a western, this is a novel about love, and loss, and betrayal, and about hope and redemption and worlds beyond the one we can see. The setting was so clear and real, sometimes I thought I was seeing it on horseback. Every character had a story that unfolded gradually, and I cared enough about them to keep turning the pages. The ending was unexpected, but satisfying. A definite must read, even if you think you don’t like westerns. Liz Marshall, author of Seeing Eye
Cox packs a great deal into her novel. Besides the portrayal of everyday life on the frontier, a reader finds universal human themes of independence, redemption, identity, loss, romantic longing, loyalty, and commitment.
Ron Scheer, Buddies in the Saddle BlogSpot.
Read entire review HERE.
Chasm Creek is a wonderful read. A historical fiction novel about the Southwest with engaging and believable characters. Patricia Cox's love of the history of Arizona is evident in her attention to the small details of ordinary lives in a harsh place at a hard time. The authenticity of her descriptions drew me in and kept my interest, and I found myself rooting for these three very human characters. Despite their own heartbreak, they offer each other compassion and friendship and a chance to come to terms with tragedies in their pasts. When I reached the end of the book I felt I'd actually made this journey myself, knew these people, and understood what it was like to live in that time.
Char Bishop, author of Lost and Found in Alaska
Three unlikely friends. Three lives based on lies. Until ghostly encounters and bloody confrontations expose their secrets, and all three are forced to choose: what world they will live in? CHASM CREEK is a story of love and loss, fates entwined, and finding one's place . . . in the merciless Arizona Territory.
In the Historical Fiction category.
Patricia Grady Cox