Reviewed: “East of Denver” by Gregory Hill

East of Denver

East of Denver came with the description that it is “a poignant, darkly comic debut novel about a father and son finding their way together as their livelihood inexorably disappears” and I wasn’t at all sure what that meant. I don’t read a lot of darkly comic novels and books about fathers and sons are unheard of on my bookshelf. But a free book is a free book and I really do want to expand my reading horizons so I dove in to the story of Stacey and Emmett Williams without a second thought.

Stacey is the son in the story. He’s sort of lost. There’s not a lot of back story for him, but I’m not totally sure he was ever not lost. How could you be in a tiny town with slim pickings for friends and amusement, right? But Stacey struck out on his own, until a stray cat he was feeding died.

Something drove him to take the cat home, to his childhood home, and bury it in the pet cemetery that I’m pretty sure all old-timey farms have.

That’s when things really go downhill for one Stacey “Shakespeare” Williams.

His widowed father is senile, the caretaker woman has gone missing in the worst possible way, the senile father sold the airplane to a slimey banker for $20, and the farm no longer gets any government subsidies.

Drugs are taken, bank robbery plots are hatched, bonfires are built, questionable canned vegetables and frozen meats are eaten, snakes bite, the oddest pairings engage in sex, and father and son go out with the most literal of bangs.

East of Denver lives up to what it claims on the back of the book. It’s poignant, darkly comic, and life and livelihood do disappear. It’s a short read and it goes by quickly, but it’s not always easy to read how these people, characters very complex for the brief time the reader knows them, have their worlds crash down around them. There’s no fantasy escapism here. It’s real life. And real life is darkly comic.

(I was fortunate to win a copy of East of Denver by Gregory Hill through a Goodreads giveaway run by Plume Books.)


So it’s been a little while since I did anything hear other than review what I’m reading. Time to do that, right?

First, I’m doing Camp NaNoWriMo again this month. I did a 50k novel that is a pain the ass to edit in April, but I did it successfully, so I came back for more self-torture. You can alter your word count goals in Camp months so I’m aiming for 35k and an easier time editing. We’ll see what happens.

Anybody else doing Camp NaNoWriMo?

In other news, I’ve joined the 21st century and got a Kindle. I still like ink and paper books best of all, but I can see the value of e-readers. I suppose. As much as it pains me to say that. And it really does pain me.

Let’s see, what else?

I’m reading East of Denver by Gregory Hill right now, a book I won in a giveaway on Goodreads. The back of the book describes it as “darkly comic” and that’s exactly what it is. I love the book, and I really can’t stop reading it.

Are you all on Goodreads? This is me, if you want to follow me there. I’ll definitely follow back.

I think that’s it for now. I’ll let you know if I think of anything else.

Are you all reading any good books right now? I’m always open to recommendations.