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GARY SCHANBACHER. Crossing Purgatory

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GARY SCHANBACHER. Crossing Purgatory. Pegasus. Hardcover, 336 pages, $25.95, www.pegasuspress.net.

The lyrical quality of Gary Schanbacher’s prose will hook readers first before anything and is one reason this book won a Spur Award for Best First Novel, and is a finalist for the 2014 Spur in the Traditional Novel category. The author truly delivers lush details, but does not overwhelm the story’s fast pace. The Indiana farmer Thompson Grey’s sad plight tugs you along as he grieves deep losses and sets out on a journey west. The theme of purgatory resonates as he struggles to overcome hardships, rebuild his life and make peace with his past. In the vein of a traditional Western, yet with a blend of elegance and in-depth emotion, this tale is one that will linger long past reading.