The 2019 Beltie Prize for Best Mystery Goes To….
Why? You may ask. Well, I dare you to read up to the top of page 5 and want to stop. And it only gets better from there.
This is not only a story of community, but also the redemptive qualities of community. Lullaby Road, in some ways, is like the island of misfit children. Set in the high desert of Utah, it centers on truck driver Ben Jones and 100 mile stretch he cruises and features a cast of eccentrics wanting to be left alone. But even with this need for solitude, relationships are created, tested, and survive just like any familial trials and tribulations. This is best exemplified by a hit and run suffered by one of their own, an itinerant preacher who drags a full sized cross up and down the highway as penance for reasons only he understands. This accident pulls all these disparate people together and kicks the story into high gear.
This is the second novel featuring protagonist Ben Jones. The first (last year’s The Never-Open Desert Diner) was on the 2018 Beltie long-list. With Ben Jones and the stark, yet beautiful, setting of high desert Utah, James Anderson has crafted a series that will leave you musing on the vagaries of humanity while rooting hard for the good guys. Even those who don’t seem so good. Lullaby Road is very nuanced and well written, musing on choices we all make, in one way or another, over time.
Read to the top of of page 5. I dare you to put it down.