Red Lightning

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Book Description


Ten years ago, Tess Cross left her newborn daughter with her sister and hightailed it out of what she called NoWhere, Colorado. Now she returns to the eastern plains of Colorado, full of raw rage at herself and at the universe, yearning for the life she never lead and the daughter she left behind. As a levantona who has been running drugs and illegal immigrants once they’re beyond the US-Mexico border, she’s knowingly and even defiantly entered into a harsh and dangerous world. But suddenly her world has become darker than she can bear: The largest wildfire in Colorado history is blazing. Immigrants are dead. She’s haunted by the memory of a Mexican woman she couldn’t save and a lost Mexican girl she did. Traffickers — of both immigrants and drugs – are now hunting her down. But most of all, Tess is at the mercy of her own traumatized soul, and the weight of it is cracking her apart.

In the act of coming home, Tess must now face her dying mother, her sister, and her daughter, and most importantly, herself.

This book broaches timely topics essential in the West — immigration, rural poverty, wildfires — with suspense and gritty wisdom as well.

About the Author

LAURA PRITCHETT is the author of the novel Stars Go Blue, which was a finalist for both the Reading the West and the Colorado Book Awards. Her previous novels include Hell’s Bottom, Colorado, which received the Milkweed National Fiction Prize and a PEN USA Award for Fiction and Sky Bridge, for which she received the WILLA Fiction Award and was a Finalist for the International Dublin Literary Award. Her work has appeared in numerous magazines including O, the Oprah MagazineThe SunOrionHigh Country NewsOrionSalon, and others. She lives in Colorado.


“Laura Pritchett is one of Colorado’s finest writers… As in her previous novel, Stars Go Blue, Pritchett’s lyrical and sparse prose draw the reader into this compelling novel of redemption and self-discovery.” —Steamboat Today

“Colorado author Laura Pritchett, who lives in the northern foothills, has a feel for her state’s qualities — both plains and mountains… Her writing is intense and passionate.” —Centennial Citizen

“The real motor of this novel is its plot, like that of a well-made action movie, with its inside look at the criminal world associated with border running. Pritchett skillfully unfolds plot points, keeping the reader guessing, and building suspense. That, along with loving descriptions of the Western landscape, make for a great read.” —Library Journal

“Through themes of remorse and redemption, acceptance and forgiveness, Pritchett (Stars Go Blue, 2014), one of the West’s most agile and evocative writers, depicts molten imagery and bubbling emotions that surge with potent fluidity.” —Booklist

“Laura Pritchett is a writer whose prose is as passionate as it is intelligent. Hers is a rare talent that does not let her compassion for humanity get in the way of her attention to the paradoxes of being human, nor its obligations. Red Lightning is a star in the West: a smart, tender, crisp piece of work about the opportunities for redemption and blessings that exist in every hour.” —Rick Bass, author of All the Land to Hold Us

“Pritchett’s deep compassion for her characters, her searing honesty, and Tess’s complex quest for redemption in the raw landscape of Nowhere, Colorado illuminate this fine and compelling novel. Don’t miss this book.” —Karen E. Bender, author of National Book Award finalist Refund

“In Red Lightning, Laura Pritchett has given her readers a deeply beautiful and suspenseful new novel, one with the central questions: how much does a human life matter? And, how strong are the ties that bind us to family? This is a powerful book, one that I didn’t want to end.” —Christine Sneed, author of ParisHe Said and Little Known Facts