Wyoming Territory, 1870.
Elijah Carter is afflicted. Most of the townsfolk of South Pass City treat him as a simpleton because he’s deaf, but that’s not his only problem. Something in Elijah runs contrary to nature and to God. Something that Elijah desperately tries to keep hidden.
Harlan Crane, owner of the Empire saloon, knows Elijah for what he is—and for all the ungodly things he wants. But Crane isn’t the only one. Grady Mullins desires Elijah too, but unlike Crane, he refuses to push the kid.
When violence shatters Elijah’s world, he is caught between two very different men and two devastating urges: revenge, and despair. In a boomtown teetering on the edge of a bust, Elijah must face what it means to be a man in control of his own destiny, and choose a course that might end his life . . . or truly begin it for the very first time.
This book was definitely in the vein of the others I have read by this author.
It featured a young man with some hearing impairments, Elijah Carter, and his need to punish himself or be punished for not deserving the love of his adoptive father.
Of course, the town bad guy, Harlan Crane takes it upon himself to engage with the young Elijah and debase him as often as he can. That is until a drifter Grady Mullins notices Elijah and decides that what Elijah needs is someone to care for him.
Harlan and Grady engage each other and of course there was collateral damage
This book was dark, but like most Lisa Henry books, she always cracks a window to let in some rays of hope. Harlan made my skin crawl and Grady made me feel relaxed. Poor Elijah had to fight and dig deep to find strength and survive.
If you are looking for a romance with flowers and dinner, this isn’t it. It is about pain and a struggle to will oneself to survive in a dog-eat-dog world. But I was satisfied with the ending.
*Thank you to Netgalley for the reading copy