MONTANA: book review


MONTANA by Gwen Florio. Publisher: The Permanent Press (October 2013). Suspense/Thriller. cloth. 256 pages. ISBN 978-1-57962-336-4.

“She couldn’t remember the last time she tried to sleep on a plane. She’d spent too many years trying to get to the sorts of places that sane people sought to leave, traveling there on rusting prop planes of questionable pedigree flown by pilots of dodgy backgrounds under conditions that made her wonder why she’d ever fretted over an assignment of window versus aisle; each new trip a gut-liquefying opportunity to wonder when luck would turn on her, demanding payment for past excesses of hubris.”

Foreign correspondent Lola Wicks gets called back to Baltimore for a local reassignment and she’s furious. Her editor insists she take a vacation. When she arrives in Magpie, Montana at her friend’s cabin, she finds her friend, a local reporter, shot dead. Lola stays to discover why someone killed her even when she finds herself in danger.

Dauntless, free-spirited and a truly independent woman, Lola knows what she wants to do professionally and what makes her happy. At this time, that’s being in a war zone covering international conflicts. Author Gwen Florio writes: “She heard her editor yet again, essentially suggesting that it was time for her to be more like other people. Ignoring the fact that the thing that made her different was the reason she’d presumably been hired in the first place.”

Coming back from Afghanistan, Lola Wicks finds herself a bit paranoid— “She cast sidelong glances at her fellow passengers, retrieving an array of towering backpacks and cylindrical cases that looked as though they could contain grenade launchers.” Into this small, seemingly idyllic town in the midst of America, Lola brings her wary foreign correspondent mindset. But does that become a hindrance or help in determining what happened to her friend?

MONTANA drew me in immediately with its stellar page-turning plot, terrific characters and stunning descriptions of Montana scenery: “ahead, bare foothills bunched like fists, knuckled ridges pressing back against the weight of sky. The road arced around the hills in lazy swooping curves, then without warning hair-pinned through cliffs that leaned in above her, slicing the sky in manageable size.”

RATING: *****/5

–review by Amy Steele

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for review from The Permanent Press.

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