Peculiar Savage Beauty by Jessica McCann
ISBN: 9780999460207 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780999460214 (ebook)
ASIN: B0793F7RB9 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Perspective Books
Release Date: April 17, 2018
The black blizzard is a formidable enemy. The furious dust storm blots out the sun, chokes the life from both man and beast. When RJ Evans finds herself engulfed in inky blackness and holed up beneath her Model AA Ford on an isolated plains road – dirt caked beneath her fingernails, skin flecked with blood drawn by the biting dust – she has no idea this trial won’t be her toughest.
What awaits her in the small farming town of Vanham, when she begins her job as a geologist for the U.S. Soil Conservation Service, is even more daunting.
Drought and over-plowing have turned the once-lush plains into an unforgiving wasteland. Headstrong and intent on healing the earth through conservation farming, RJ must somehow find her place in a community that welcomes neither women in authority nor changes to their way of life.
She befriends Woody, an autistic savant born in an era long before any medical diagnosis would explain his peculiar ways and unique talents. The locals label the young man an idiot and RJ an armchair farmer. Yet, in each other, they see so much more.
Beating back the dust is a daily battle. It is a clash that creates unlikely alliances. As RJ learns she must rely on her adversaries if she is to survive the dangers of the Dust Bowl, she also grows to realize that she – like the land itself – is in desperate need of healing.
Read an excerpt
Rosa Jean knew it was foolish to believe her parents had been buried alive. But she couldn’t get the idea out of her head. When she closed her eyes, she could see them sleeping in their wooden boxes. She could hear the rain of dirt pelting the casket lids. She would dwell on their terror – awakening in the darkness, lungs burning from the rank, oxygen-depleted air, and realizing their fate.
How must it feel to be buried alive? To be swallowed up by the earth?
She stretched out in the oblong hole she had dug behind her uncle’s barn. The moist earth chilled her bare legs. She briefly peered at the black mud packed around her chewed fingernails and jagged cuticles. Then, she crossed her tiny hands over her chest and closed her eyes. When Uncle Lou came upon the girl lying there, he howled, grabbed her up by the arms and dragged her like a ragdoll to the house.
“There’s something dreadful wrong with this child.”
Meet the Author
Jessica McCann worked for more than 25 years as a professional freelance journalist and corporate writer. Her articles have appeared in Business Week, The Writer, Raising Arizona Kids, Phoenix and dozens of other magazines. McCann’s debut novel, All Different Kinds of Free, won the Freedom in Fiction Prize and was published by Bell Bridge Books. Her second novel, Peculiar Savage Beauty, will be available in hardcopy and ebook April 17, 2018. She lives with her family in Phoenix, Arizona.