Missy (Fiction)

Chris Hannan, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24, Softcover.
Chris Hannan, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $24, Softcover.

Missy, the name Victorians call laudanum or liquid opium, is also the nickname of Dol McQueen, for this 19-year-old Fallen Dove dotes on the delectable poison. Leaving 1862 San Francisco with  a wagon train of fellow wantons, she heads for a strike in Virginia City, Nevada, to share the lucky miners’ gold. Once in the wilds, Dol rescues a half-hanged Fancy Man from suicide who repays her by going halves on a cached crate of Missy before unaccountably disappearing. Rumors of those 50 tins of Missy under Dol’s busy bed force her to flee. Her two-mule wagon’s million-dollar load is pursued by the venal police chief, murderous army deserters and a vicious gang of feral children who were pandered by the vanished procurer. When Dol’s headlong trail forks, the feisty fugitive must turn back for the protection of the crooked lawman or abandon the Missy and its hold on her by heading eastward to a new life.  Chris Hannan, a native of Edinburgh, Scotland, has given the reader an unique look at the Old West.

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