August 2, 1991, Twentynine Palms, California: a troubled Marine who has recently returned from the Gulf War savagely murders two young girls. One was about to turn 16, the other 21. Exquisitely and inexorably, Deanne Stillman uses this tragedy as a prism through which she examines a rootless culture of fatherless families, shattered dreams, and relentless violence. She also traces the family histories of each murder victim back for generations, in one case to the Donner Party and the other to a shack in the Philippines. In haunting, vivid prose, she creates a far-reaching story of America itself, carrying us into the empty white heart of the Mojave, as we meet and come to know the modern nomads who turn to the West for salvation, only to be devoured by its false promise.
“This is a strange and brilliant story by an important American writer.“ (Hunter S. Thompson)
"A best book of the year." (Los Angeles Times)
“A book as stunning as it is shocking. In Stillman’s prose, you can almost feel the blistering heat of the Mojave Desert, smell the stale beer of the seedy bars... This book is unforgettable.“ (Arizona Daily Star Sunday Book Review)