Michael McGarrity returns with the second installment of his sweeping, richly authentic New York Times best-selling American West trilogy set in the raw, untrammeled New Mexico backlands during the Roaring '20s, the Great Depression, and World War II. Hard Country, the first novel in the Kerney family trilogy and the debut prequel to his national best-selling Kevin Kerney crime novels, was critically acclaimed for its authentic, gritty realism; its sprawling, engrossing story; and its compelling, engaging characters. An instant hit on several national best seller lists, Hard Country continues to attract an overwhelmingly positive response from critics, booksellers, and audiences. Backlands advances the story of Patrick Kerney; his ex-wife, Emma; and their young son, Matthew, shortly after the tragic battlefield death of their eldest son, CJ, at the end of World War I. Scarred by the loss of an older brother he idolized, estranged from a father he barely knows, and deeply troubled by the failing health of a mother he adores, eight-year-old Matthew is suddenly and irrevocably forced to set aside his childhood and take on responsibilities far beyond his years. When the world spirals into the Great Depression and drought settles like a plague over the nation, Matt must abandon his own dreams to salvage the Kerney ranch. Plunged into a deep trough of dark family secrets, hidden crimes, broken promises, and lies, Matt must struggle to survive on the unforgiving, sun-blasted, drought-stricken Tularosa Basin. An expansive, epic tale like Philipp Meyer's The Son, and in the wonderful storyteller vein of Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove, McGarrity's Backlands showcases his keen eye for historical detail, awe-inspiring scenery, and the bitter harshness of life on the last vestiges of the 20th-century frontier West.
©2014 Michael McGarrity (P)2014 Recorded Books
This is not really a novel of the American West. Nor is it a novel of much of anything except a handful of characters playing superficial, stereotypical roles. The vignettes lack any cohesiveness, emotional drive or moral storyline. Very disappointing, very predictable and one gets the impression that it was written to fulfill a per page commitment / contract . The narration by the excellent George Guidall is superb.
Sure, in a few years. Great story with much redemption.
I think we were meant to like Matt, and I did. He rose above the adversity in his life, especially with his father. Knowing the story of Patrick at that age from the previous books, you got a chance to compare their choices and innate characters. I also liked all three of the women in his life.
Love George. He embodies McGarrity's characters so well. A perfect alchemy.
Without being too precious, I would say that the most memorable "character" in Backlands was the sense of U.S. history in the early 20th Century, and how it changed lives.
Nope. Loved it.
Of course Guidall is a great reader, especially for western stories. I listen to him reading McGarrity's Kevin Kearney mystery series sometimes when I can't find a good new book.
This was a good story, not a mystery but a family history. Kept me interested.
I read Hard Country and then Backlands - Now I'm reading the earlier novels (Kevin Kerney series). McGarrity started writing traditional crime novels and in doing so developed his skills. The last two books are by far his best!
These books tell the tale of history, family, the country (New Mexico), ethnic diversity and all that accompanies it and he does it very well.
George Guidall is a great reader for these books too!
Although it starts slow once you get through the first few chapters it picks up nicely and is a great read. The first novel in the series, Hard Country, was really good and a must read to help understand Patrick's character. This novel is mostly about Matt and the character development is excellent. I enjoy novels set around historical events and this novel does a great job.
cook, lawyer, knitter, mom, grandmom
Loved the action across the backdrop of the southwest and as always loved George guidalls narration. Now intend to hear all the series
A great story about the Oldwest meets the 20th century. narration is superb by George G as usual! if you like this kind of thing, you'll love this book. Actually, I cannot wait for the third installment, if indeed there is one forthcoming. very enjoyable front to back peace!
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