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From the Black Hills: A Novel by Judy Troy

From the Black Hills: A Novel

by Judy Troy

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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375502300, Hardcover)

Reader, beware: there is no joy in Judy Troy's From the Black Hills, a bleak vision of rural life in South Dakota at the end of the 20th century. The story revolves around Mike Newlin, a small-town high school senior whose father has recently disappeared after murdering his office receptionist. In the aftermath of this shocking event, Mike is understandably traumatized; on the surface, however, life goes on. Mike goes to work, cares for his shattered mother, has sex with his girlfriend, Donetta, while fantasizing about his employer's wife, Lee-Ann. Troy sets herself an interesting challenge here as she attempts to convey the innermost thoughts and feelings of inarticulate people. Mostly she does this through prose that is deceptively simple. When told by his boss about the murder, for example, Mike thinks: "He didn't know anything. That was what he couldn't put into words--what it was like to discover that there were things you almost knew but didn't know. He looked away from Neil. He leaned down and picked up Janna's dolls. He put them one by one in her red toy box."

As the summer wears on, life gets more complicated. Mike and Lee-Ann circle their mutual attraction warily; a criminal investigator assigned to the murder develops a yen for Mike's mother; and, inevitably, Mike's father resurfaces, forcing his son into an untenable position. Though there's not much light in Judy Troy's Black Hills, by the end of the novel there is a ray or two of hope. --Alix Wilber

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:17 -0400)

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In North Dakota Mike Newlin's father, an insurance agent, kills his secretary-lover and disappears. The police investigation reveals aspects of the father Mike was unaware of. A look at the impact on a son of such an event.

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