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About Gwen Florio
Award-winning journalist Gwen Florio has covered stories ranging from the shooting at Columbine High School to the glitz of the Miss America pageant and the more practical Miss Navajo contest, whose participants slaughter and cook a sheep. She’s reported from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, as well as Lost Springs, Wyoming (population three). She turned to fiction in 2013 with the publication of her first novel, MONTANA, which won the Pinckley Prize for Debut Crime Fiction and a High Plains Book Award. Four more novels followed in the Lola Wicks series, termed “gutsy” by the New York Times. SILENT HEARTS (Atria, July 2018) is a standalone novel set in Afghanistan. BEST LAID PLANS (Severn House), is set for a February 2021 release. Florio lives in Missoula, Montana, with her partner, Scott Crichton, and an exuberant, manuscript-chewing bird dog named Nell. She is a member of International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, Rocky Mountain Fiction Writers and Great Old Broads for Wilderness. Florio is represented by Richard Curtis Associates.
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Titles By Gwen Florio
A Parade Magazine “Books We Love” Pick
The Big Sky State may seem to lack the shadowy urban mazes traditional to the noir genre. But in Montana, darkness is found in the regions of the heart, driving the desperate and deadly to commit the most heinous of crimes. Here, James Grady and Keir Graff, both Montana natives, masterfully curate this collection of hard-edged Western tales.
Montana Noir includes Eric Heidle’s “Ace in the Hole,” an Edgar Award nominee for Best Short Story, and impressive contributions by David Abrams, Caroline Patterson, Thomas McGuane, Janet Skeslien Charles, Sidner Larson, Yvonne Seng, James Grady, Jamie Ford, Carrie La Seur, Walter Kirn, Gwen Florio, Debra Magpie Earling, and Keir Graff.
“Terrific . . . Montana Noir is one of the high points in Akashic’s long-running and justly celebrated Noir series . . . varying landscapes reflect the darkness within the people who walk the streets or drive the country roads.” —Booklist
“Montana may not have the back alleys so common to noir but it has western justice which can be quick, brutal and final and that is as satisfying as anything found in the urban streets that typically attract the dark beauty of the noir genre.” —New York Journal of Books
“Certain noir standbys prove both malleable and fertile in these 14 new stories . . . If Montana has a dark side, is anywhere safe from noir?” —Kirkus Reviews
Nora Best is the envy of her friends. She's just turned fifty and has traded in her home with The Perfect-Ass Husband for an Airstream trailer and an adventure of a lifetime across the US.
But during their leaving party, Nora finds her husband in a compromising position with a friend. Storming out of the party she jumps into her truck with no idea how to tow the Airstream or where she's going.
Nora ends up in a campground in the mountains of Wyoming, drowning her sorrows with its managers, Brad and Miranda. When she is woken by a frantic Miranda after Brad has disappeared and bloodstains have been found around the campsite, Nora finds herself caught up in an adventure she could never have expected . . . facing a charge of murder.
A tense and claustrophobic mystery set in the Montana wilderness starring Nora Best.
Nora Best is starting her life over . . . again. Spotting a 'team leader' job with a therapy program for troubled girls at Serendipity Ranch, Nora thinks it's the perfect role. She'll be surrounded by the beautiful Montana wilderness and be able to make a difference in the kids' lives.
All is going well until it's revealed a girl recently died at the ranch. The other girls are struggling with the loss. The official line is she jumped from a cliff, but she was afraid of heights and would have struggled to get there alone.
As trouble at the ranch escalates and another shocking discovery is made, Nora's determined to find out the truth to protect the girls. However, with her recent troubles, the local community, police and program leaders won't take her seriously. Can Nora overcome her past to help the girls, or are the girls using her past to help themselves?
Public defender Julia Geary moves through life in simmering resentment--at her husband, a soldier killed in Iraq, leaving her a single mother; at her low-paying job; and at her overbearing mother-in law, whose home she shares. She longs for a breakout case, and it arrives when members of the high school soccer team report seeing a teammate--Iraqi refugee Sami Mohammed--assaulting a girl in the locker room.
In a town where animosity against refugees has already reached a fever pitch, Julia throws all her energy into Sami's defense. She finds an ally in high school principal Dom Parrish, who believes Sami is innocent, and the case suddenly turns red hot.
Then she begins receiving vicious threats against her family, and a senseless act of violence leaves Sami in a coma. And finally, a crop of new evidence emerges that points to the town's most prominent citizens and pits Julia against powerful forces set on burying the truth once and for all.
If Sami survives and Julia can prove him innocent, it will be the case of a lifetime. But now it's her life that's on the line.
Nora Best is done running. She’s heading to her hometown of Chateau, to the grand Quail House, to stay with her mother and claim the great American privilege of starting over. But she might find it is hard to start over when the past is catching up . . .
The night Nora arrives in Chateau, a white police officer shoots and kills Robert Evans, a young black man. The officer in question is Nora’s school sweetheart, Alden Tydings. What really happened that night? Did Alden act in self-defense as he claims?
Robert is the nephew of Bobby Evans, a man whose murder during the race protests of 1967 was never solved. Bobby and his sister, Grace, used to work at Quail House before Nora was born and, as tensions in Chateau rise, Nora begins to uncover secrets within her family home that could upend the lives of everyone in town . . .
But Lola hears rumors that Judith had been working as an exotic dancer in the North Dakota oil fields, and further discovers that several Blackfeet girls, all known drug users, have gone missing over the past year. She heads out to the oil patch to check things out, only to find herself in a place where men outnumber women a hundred to one, the law looks the other way, and life - especially her own - is cheap.
Dakota shows the frightening underside of a boom-and-bust economy; of the effect on a small town when big-city money washes in, accompanied by hordes of men far from their families; of what happens when the old rules no longer apply, but the new ones are yet to be determined.
Public defender Julia Geary’s star is rising, and now she’s got her first murder case defending local denizen Ray Belmar in the death of a homeless man. But Julia’s professional and personal challenges are mounting. First, she’s assigned an intern whose arrogance is insufferable. Then, her widowed mother-in-law, whose home Julia and her son Calvin share, announces her plans to re-marry, meaning they’ll have to find a new place to live. And to top things off, Julia’s boss removes her from the case, saying that she’s lost perspective, replacing her with an attorney who advises Ray to plead guilty.
Julia can’t shake the suspicion that the murder, and the subsequent killing of a homeless woman, is linked to the death of a state legislator who had been crusading for political reform. With the help of Duck Creek’s homeless community and her old friend, Sheriff’s Deputy Wayne Peterson, she launches her investigation—but then the anonymous threats start pouring in.
Just as Julia begins to uncover the ways the system is shockingly stacked against those on the fringes of society, she makes an even more damning discovery. Someone close to her is harboring a dark secret they are desperate to protect—even if that means silencing Julia once and for all.
In 2001, Kabul is a place of possibility as people fling off years of repressive Taliban rule. This hopeful chaos brings together American aid worker Liv Stoellner and Farida Basra, an educated Pakistani woman still adjusting to her arranged marriage to Gul, the son of an Afghan strongman whose family spent years of exile in Pakistan before returning to Kabul.
Both Liv and her husband take positions at an NGO that helps Afghan women recover from the Taliban years. They see the move as a reboot—Martin for his moribund academic career, Liv for their marriage. But for Farida and Gul, the move to Kabul is fraught, severing all ties with Farida’s family and her former world, and forcing Gul to confront a chapter in his life he’d desperately tried to erase.
The two women, brought together by Farida’s work as an interpreter, form a nascent friendship based on their growing mutual love for Afghanistan.
As the bond between Farida and Liv deepens, war-scarred Kabul acts in different ways upon them, as well as their husbands. Silent Hearts is “highly recommended, especially for fans of Khaled Hosseini” (Library Journal, starred review).
««Una storia avvincente e ben costruita, un accurato affresco di Kabul dopo il crollo del regime talebano. Un libro altamente consigliato, specialmente per i fan di Khaled Hosseini.» »
««Un romanzo raro, che ti avvicina a una cultura altrimenti lontana raccontandoti una storia avvincente ed emozionante.» »
The Denver Post
««Gwen Florio, inviata in Afghanistan, usa il materiale ricavato dai suoi reportage di successo con sicurezza e abilità.» »
Liv è stanca. Della sua vita monotona e delle costanti infedeltà del marito, un esperto di storia e politica dell’Asia centrale che ha visto la sua brillante carriera evaporare nel disinteresse. Dopo l’11 settembre, però, i suoi studi tornano alla ribalta e a lui viene offerto di dirigere un’associazione no profit a Kabul. Per Liv, questa è la svolta che aspettavano da anni. Un nuovo inizio per Martin, per il loro matrimonio e anche per lei, che avrà l’occasione di aiutare molte donne meno fortunate, a cominciare dalla sua interprete, Farida.
Farida è una donna moderna. Ha studiato in Inghilterra, veste all’occidentale, parla diverse lingue, lavora. Eppure non può decidere del proprio destino. Quando i genitori le combinano un matrimonio col rampollo di una ricca famiglia afgana, lei non può far altro che obbedire. Di colpo, Farida è costretta a indossare un burqa, a lasciare il Pakistan per trasferirsi a Kabul e ad accettare il nuovo incarico che il marito le ha trovato nell’associazione no profit in cui Liv fa volontariato. All’inizio, Farida invidia la libertà di quella donna. Tuttavia a poco a poco si rende conto che lei e Liv sono più simili di quanto non avesse immaginato: anche Liv infatti è vittima delle scelte del marito e la sua indipendenza ha un prezzo che Farida forse non sarebbe disposta a pagare. E, grazie a Farida, Liv capirà che a volte la vera prigione è quella che ci portiamo dentro e che è proprio lei la prima ad aver bisogno di essere salvata…
Nella Moglie dello straniero, Gwen Florio racconta, con grazia e sensibilità, una commovente storia di resilienza e di amicizia, dove due donne forti e determinate scoprono il coraggio di vedere oltre le differenze, di sfidare la società e le convenzioni per riaffermare il loro diritto a essere se stesse.