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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Way too predictable

I listened to the first of this series (Hard Country) and I thought it showed some promise. Then I got this second in the series and after listening to it,I believe it way too formulaic for my taste. That's not to say that the book is bad, but it is strikingly similar to the first book. To me is was predictable, right down to the end.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not really a Novel of the American West

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.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Nice continuation of the Kearney story

As always a masterful performance by Mr Guidall. A nice continuation of the family story of the "taming" of the Tullarosa basin and the creep into the modern era. Times and ranching are changing, America is changing, yet the ranch and the basin are somehow left behind clinging to the old ways and the life that they are trying to preserve. Very enjoyable if somewhat sad story of life and living with all the ups and downs that it brings. Nice job of character development as they mature and grow and age.
My only real negative comment is that the story just stopped with so many questions staying unanswered. Maybe there will be a concluding third book. I hope so!

3 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

a good read

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.

3 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Another Good Story

The McGarrity men are hard to love but I was glad Matt found Ann. She needed to be rescued. A good story and a good reader.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Life settles into a soap opera

The saga continues, Matt and his dad continue to agree to disagree, and attitudes simmer after his mother dies, and his dad is divorced once again, and has nothing to do with another son, that is half Mexican. Relationships continue to decline until Matt's father is badly injured during the depression. The ranch is in jeopardy and it takes many years for the finances to stabilize.
Lots of deals and many people help Matt down the road to success, but it is a slow hard haul,then comes a new love interest, WWII, more injuries, and deaths. And now we are off to the post war years....
This book was good...but not as magic as book I

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Back Story

What did you love best about Backlands?

My dad always told me if you don't know where you started you will never know how far you've been. Great back story of Mcgarrity's series.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

His best one yet...

Would you listen to Backlands again? Why?

Sure, in a few years. Great story with much redemption.

Who was your favorite character and why?

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.

What about George Guidall’s performance did you like?

Love George. He embodies McGarrity's characters so well. A perfect alchemy.

Who was the most memorable character of Backlands and why?

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.

Any additional comments?

Nope. Loved it.

2 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great back story

Loved the action across the backdrop of the southwest and as always loved George guidalls narration. Now intend to hear all the series

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Great Story

Only gave it four stars as I was disappointed in the ending. Obviously he is setting it up for the final book of the trilogy but I would have liked a better resolve to this book. Other than that it was great and well worth listening especially if you enjoyed book one.

1 of 5 people found this review helpful