When Winter Killed (TCU Press, $22.95)

The-Big-Drift-Patrick-DearenPatrick Dearen’s novel The Big Drift is set during the deadly blizzard and subsequent die-off of cattle in West Texas in 1884-’85.

In addition to being a realistic historical account of the catastrophe, it is the story of two men, one black and one white, who are driven by guilt and a need for repentance. This is a story for our times, as each man has been responsible for the deaths of members of the other’s race. Although the narration and prose style are often cloyed, The Big Drift offers a great deal to readers interested in evocation of place (Dearen has also written non-fiction books about this region), historical realism and the timeless significance of confronting racially based conflicts and guilt.

John Nesbitt, author of Twin Rivers

What do you think?