Red Lightning

A Novel

Choose a Format

On Sale: | $16.95

9781619027435 | Paperback 6 x 9 | 208 pages Buy it Now

On Sale: | $12.99

9781619026414 | Ebook | 208 pages Buy it Now

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

Praise For This Book

Praise for Red Lightning

"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 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 Paris, He Said and Little Known Facts

Praise for Stars Go Blue:

"There is more than just the bleak and unforgiving setting of the Rocky Mountain foothills to recommend Pritchett to fans of Kent Haruf's similarly placed novels. Strength of character and simplicity of language comparably complement a rich underpinning of savagery and sadness as Pritchett sensitively navigates the end of a life and sublimely realizes its enduring legacy." —Booklist (Starred Review)

"Pritchett delivers a brilliant novel, filled with heartache and humor, that will strike a chord with many readers. A heart–wrenching exploration of a family in crisis." —Library Journal (Starred Review)

"Laura Pritchett's is a fine new voice, fully her own, with wise sensibilities. The deep territory mapped here in the triangular boundary between regret and endurance and hope is well–illuminated and finely wrought." —Rick Bass, author of The Stars, the Sky, the Wilderness

"Stars Go Blue manages to be both warm–hearted and violent at once –– a complex deeply–imagined family tale which finds unexpected gifts at its conclusion. Laura Pritchett is a writer who knows country life on the Rocky Mountain front range thoroughly and she conveys this physical world expertly, beautifully out of her long experience. Within this specific place her clear depiction of character and suspenseful delivery of story compel us to the last exact word." —Kent Haruf, author of Plainsong and Eventide

"Laura Pritchett's new book is a novel about family and the Western spirit to which they are born; her characters bound off the page as if released from the pull of gravity. In prose as bright as mountain air we meet a retired rancher whose memory is failing and his estranged, hard–bitten wife, as each attempt to prepare for the release from prison of the man who murdered their daughter. Their narratives are as gripping as they are intelligent, as wise as they are funny, as unsentimental as they are tender. What results is proof positive that Pritchett is one of Colorado's best–kept literary secrets, a superb writer who not only knows her people and the world they come from, but respects and loves them." —Laura Hendrie, author of Stygo and Remember Me

"Laura Pritchett is to be congratulated for the brilliant telling of a story this true and this tough. Stars Go Blue is an unswerving exploration into the trials of aging and its related losses, while giving testimony to the hardiness of the human spirit and the ways in which we transcend our own frailty in the name of love." —Claire Davis, author of Winter Range

"Laura Pritchett shows us the "heart–slashing times" in all their terrible, joyful specificity, performing the simple but miraculous prestidigitation of human empathy. Stars Go Blue is a nerve–jangling, heart–wrenching treat—a tale you won't easily forget about a man struggling to remember." —Steve Amick, author of The Lake, the River & the Other Lake and Nothing But a Smile

"Pritchett has a remarkable talent for laying down the harshness of ranch — and human — life without letting the narrative itself descend into bitterness, and the novel ends not on the kind of saccharine note one might expect, but survival and acceptance. Her clean prose draws the reader into painfully real evocations of all who suffer, even as she lets the beauty of the world blossom." —Boulder Daily Camera

"Above all the concept that there is innate love for this world in each of us, and love for us innately embedded in this world, is expressed clearly in Stars Go Blue as the narratives weave in and out of each other and wash over the reader from beginning to end." —High Desert Journal

"Colorado author Laura Pritchett's devastating and brief novel, Stars Go Blue, plays out like a modern Western rendition of Shakespearian tragedy. . .Pritchett shows off powerful skills with word association and experimental phrasing when writing from the viewpoint of Ben, and the wavering reality of a dementia–afflicted brain. . . What makes Stars Go Blue absolutely devastating is how very mundane and true–to–life its tragedy is." —Missoula Independent

"Author Laura Pritchett does a wonderful job weaving her story with terrific wording and emotion. She helps bring to life what Alzheimer's can be like for both the sufferers and the caregivers. The rough life of Colorado ranchers and the repercussions of losing a family member are also movingly portrayed." —Deseret News

"Pritchett's prose is so beautifully crafted that she manages to make sadness beautiful and tragedy compelling." —Real Simple Magazine

"Ben Cross has made a decision: He's going to end his life before his early–stage Alzheimer's can do it for him. But first he's going to brave a Rocky Mountain blizzard to exact revenge on the man who killed his daughter. In this evocative novel, Ben's estranged wife sets out on her own final act of devotion—to survive the storm and bring her husband home." —More Magazine

"Stars Go Blue is a taut, sparse, and fiercely tenderhearted novel. But the novel also is brimming with hope and love and edge–of–your–seat tension. Fans of author Kent Haruf will savor Pritchett's style and the emotional resilience of her characters." —Steamboat Pilate

Praise for Laura Pritchett's other books:

"In this spare yet haunting portrait of the American West, Pritchett's powerful, poetic voice speaks with clarity, wisdom, and passion about country, family, and one young woman's majestic spirit." —Booklist

"A vivid modern tale of believable goodness." —Kent Haruf

"[A] captivating first novel . . Reminiscent of Billie Letts's Where the Heart Is, this book offers a gritty but redeeming picture of a family that never quite lets go of hope, and characters who are not soon forgotten." – Library Journal

"At the center of Laura Pritchett's Sky Bridge is the courageous notion that a world that makes us all strangers makes us also, necessarily, family. The beauty of the book lies in the way Pritchett, quietly and without fanfare, explores this difficult balance." —Kent Meyers
"Hell's Bottom, Colorado displays the talent of a brilliant, new writer." —The Rocky Mountain News

"Pritchett's debut is an admirable, steely–eyed collection of stories and vignettes featuring a family of ranchers in mountain–shadowed Colorado. . . . Pritchett, raised a rancher herself, writes beautifully about the hard work and casual cruelty of ranch life. . . . Fans of Annie Proulx's Close Range and Jon Billman's When We Were Wolves should enjoy this visceral, accomplished collection." —Publishers Weekly

"Pritchett excels at juxtaposing the sensuous with the severe, the rapturous with the repugnant." —Booklist

"Hell's Bottom vividly conveys a world where decency and humanity are challenged repeatedly, and diminished, yet still manage to gain small, significant victories." —Kirkus Reviews