Set in the harsh, beautiful Sand Hills of Nebraska at the dawn of the 20th century, Jonis Agee’s The Bones of Paradise (William Morrow, $25.99) is a masterful epic of family secrets, betrayal and murder that captures a pivotal era in the history of the American West. Rancher J.B. Bennett’s body is found in a ditch next to a slain Lakota girl, leaving the community with a lot of unanswered questions. After years away, Bennett’s widow, Dulcinea, teams up with the slain Indian girl’s sister to investigate the two murders. They cross paths with predatory oil men, crooked lawyers, and desperadoes, as the two women follow a trail that may lead back to the tragic massacre at Wounded Knee ten years earlier.
—Patrick Millikin, editor of The Highway Kind: Tales of Fast Cars, Desperate Drivers, and Dark Roads