Book - Incident At Twenty-Mile

Trevanian - 1999
St. Martins Paperbacks
ISBN: 0312970234
Incident At Twenty-Mile
£2.30 + p&p.

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Incident At Twenty-Mile

What is it about single-monikered artists that inclines them toward constantly remaking themselves? Trevanian, for instance, changes fictional genres about as often as Madonna changes hair styles. In Shibumi he wrote a classic early-'80s paranoid thriller à la Robert Ludlum, complete with a Zen-trained assassin protagonist who, in addition to being the world's most accomplished killer, is also so gifted tantrically speaking that he can give a woman multiple mind-blowing orgasms from three states away. Then came The Summer of Katya, a tender romance set in Basque country in 1917. The Main was yet another switch--a profound exploration of character masquerading as a police procedural set in Montreal. In Incident at Twenty-Mile Trevanian changes hats yet again and produces a remarkable novel set in the Old West. The year is 1898 and the place is Twenty-Mile, a dying silver-mining town in the hills of Wyoming. Matthew, a young drifter who models himself after the Ringo Kid, a character in a dime-store novel, arrives and soon manages to ingratiate himself with the citizenry. Though given to fabricating tales about his past (one skeptical citizen tells him, "You know what you are young man? You're a natural born con. That was pretty slick, the way you picked up on one of my girls singing upstairs and parlayed it into telling me that your ma was religious, that your folds were dead, and that you were all alone in this cruel, cruel world."), Matthew seems a harmless enough fellow to the folk who employ him in various odd jobs. Then one day, escaped murderer Hamilton Leider concocts a crazy plan to rob the silver mine and young Matthew becomes the lynchpin in the town's struggle for survival. Gritty, violent, and resolutely unromantic when it comes to the romance of the West, Incident at Twenty-Mile is a harrowing and memorable foray into the past.