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Not since True Grit have I read a novel as charming, exciting, suspenseful, and pitch-perfect as The Which Way Tree. Elizabeth Crook’s new book is winning from first page to last.
— Ron Hansen, author of The Kid and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
The Which Way Tree is one part Track of the Cat, one part True Grit, and one part Tom Sawyer, a ruthless pedigree for a novel that displays human nature in its most beautiful form—a marvel.
— Craig Johnson
‘Preacher Dob said, Vengeance belongs to the Lord, Samantha. She said, Only if he can beat me to it.’ This told me everything I needed to know about Samantha Shreve, a character who knocked my socks off from her first appearance on the page. This book is the stuff of legends, tales told for a hundred years around Texas campfires. Written in a form that is historically accurate and yet feels painstakingly intimate, The Which Way Tree is unlike anything I’ve read before.
— Attica Locke
Elizabeth Crook has created a book of marvels. Its comedy is steeped in the hardscrabble tragedies of a wilder old America. You will even catch an echo of Twain’s wit in the picaresque narration.
— Luis Alberto Urrea
"A ripping adventure with] a show-stopping finale."--Wall Street Journal "The stuff of legends."--Attica Locke "Powerful, sly, and often charming."--Daniel Woodrell The poignant odyssey of a tenacious young girl who braves the dangers of the Texas frontier to avenge her mother's death Early one morning in the remote hill country of Texas, a panther savagely attacks a family of homesteaders, mauling a young girl named Samantha and killing her mother, whose final act is to save her daughter's life. Samantha and her half brother, Benjamin, survive, but she is left traumatized, her face horribly scarred. Narrated in Benjamin's beguilingly plainspoken voice, The Which Way Tree is the story of Samantha's unshakeable resolve to stalk and kill the infamous panther, rumored across the Rio Grande to be a demon, and avenge her mother's death. In their quest she and Benjamin, now orphaned, enlist a charismatic Tejano outlaw and a haunted, compassionate preacher with an aging but relentless tracking dog. As the members of this unlikely posse hunt the panther, they are in turn pursued by a hapless but sadistic Confederate soldier with troubled family ties to the preacher and a score to settle. In the tradition of the great pursuit narratives, The Which Way Tree is a breathtaking saga of one steadfast girl's revenge against an implacable and unknowable beast. Yet with the comedic undertones of Benjamin's storytelling, it is also a timeless tale full of warmth and humor, and a testament to the enduring love that carries a sister and brother through a perilous adventure with all the dimensions of a legend.
About the Author
Elizabeth Crook has published four previous novels, including The Night Journal, which received the Spur Award from Western Writers of America, and Monday, Monday, a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of 2014 and winner of the Jesse H. Jones Award from the Texas Institute of Letters. She lives in Austin with her family.