Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday Freebie: Painted Horses by Malcolm Brooks

Congratulations to Elizabeth Bevins, winner of last week's Friday Freebie: the Edward Falco prize package, which included the novels Toughs, Saint John of the Five Boroughs and Wolf Point, and the short story collection Sabbath Night in the Church of the Piranha.

This week's book giveaway is Painted Horses, the debut novel by my fellow Montanan (and fellow Grove/Atlantic author) Malcolm Brooks.  Those of you who are regular patrons of my social media feeds are probably sick of hearing me wax enthusiastic about this novel, so now I'm giving you a chance to find out what my fuss is all about.  One lucky reader will win a signed copy of Painted Horses.  Here's the jacket copy for the novel:

In the mid-1950s, America was flush with prosperity and saw an unbroken line of progress clear to the horizon, while the West was still very much wild.  In this ambitious, incandescent debut, Malcolm Brooks animates that time and untamed landscape, in a tale of the modern and the ancient, of love and fate, and of heritage threatened by progress.  Catherine Lemay is a young archaeologist on her way to Montana, with a huge task before her—a canyon “as deep as the devil’s own appetites.”  Working ahead of a major dam project, she has one summer to prove nothing of historical value will be lost in the flood.  From the moment she arrives, nothing is familiar—the vastness of the canyon itself mocks the contained, artifact-rich digs in post-Blitz London where she cut her teeth.  And then there’s John H, a former mustanger and veteran of the U.S. Army’s last mounted cavalry campaign, living a fugitive life in the canyon.  John H inspires Catherine to see beauty in the stark landscape, and her heart opens to more than just the vanished past.  Painted Horses sends a dauntless young woman on a heroic quest, sings a love song to the horseman’s vanishing way of life, and reminds us that love and ambition, tradition and the future, often make strange bedfellows.

Here are a few words of praise for the novel:

      “Reminiscent of the fiery, lyrical and animated spirit of Cormac McCarthy’s Borderlands trilogy, and the wisdom and elegance of Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose, Painted Horses is its own work, a big, old-fashioned and important novel.”
            —Rick Bass, author of All the Land to Hold Us

      “From its filmic geographical canvases and epochs to its mesmerizing close-ups of men, women and horses whose weaknesses, wounds, and powers are in plain paradoxical view, Malcolm Brooks’ novel-making is always skilled and often breath-taking. There isn’t a passing landscape, archaeological wonder, minor character, dialect, or wild horse in this story that isn’t convincing. And the broken but magic horseman, John H, is for my money one of the great characters of Montana’s estimable literature.”
            —David James Duncan, author of The Brothers K and The River Why

      “Malcolm Brooks’ novel has the hard thrill of the West, when it was still a new world, the tenderness of first love and the pain of knowledge. This book is a gripping, compulsively readable page-turner.”
            —Amy Bloom, author of Lucky Us

And of course there's this review by Natalie Storey here at The Quivering Pen.

If you’d like a chance at winning a signed copy of Painted Horses, simply email your name and mailing address to

Put FRIDAY FREEBIE in the e-mail subject line.  One entry per person, please.  Despite its name, the Friday Freebie runs all week long and remains open to entries until midnight on Aug. 14, at which time I’ll draw the winning name.  I’ll announce the lucky reader on Aug. 15.  If you’d like to join the mailing list for the once-a-week newsletter, simply add the words “Sign me up for the newsletter” in the body of your email.  Your email address and other personal information will never be sold or given to a third party (except in those instances where the publisher requires a mailing address for sending Friday Freebie winners copies of the book).

Want to double your odds of winning?  Get an extra entry in the contest by posting a link to this webpage on your blog, your Facebook wall or by tweeting it on Twitter.  Once you’ve done any of those things, send me an additional e-mail saying “I’ve shared” and I’ll put your name in the hat twice.

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