By Mark Newman (Mark Newman)
The blurb: The Anchorage-based author's latest novel is the story of a wild horse and a young girl's adventure in the Wyoming wilderness.
Excerpt: "The first frost came just one week after the rodeo and a few weeks later there was an early season dusting of snow, although that melted off quickly. During this period Golden was confined to the big corral at the ranch as punishment for his poor performance at the log pull. Owens ignored the colt and Garth Bonner took over the task of his feeding and watering. Gold was put back on full rations and gained strength daily. Over a month of this confinement went by. The palomino was now physically stronger but unhappy with the isolation imposed by being corralled all this time. Horses are very social critters and keeping them in solitary confinement is therefor a kind of torture. Of course that was the whole point as far as Zeke Owens was concerned. Owens was a cruel man and he was making Golden pay for not having done better at a log pull."
By Alexis M. Smith (Tin House Books, $12.95)
The blurb: The novel collects small moments in a single day in the life of Isabel, a 20-something romantic who's attracted to found objects and falls hard for a soldier home from Iraq, while flashes of her childhood in Alaska offer more insight into her life.
Excerpt: "She wakes just before her alarm goes off, stretches her arm over the pillows and cat to reach the clock. The crows woke her, in the trees outside; they had slipped into that place between dreaming and waking. The crows in the trees outside her window flew into the thrift shop. A whole murder of them landing on the hanging clothes, making a racket in the fluttering dresses. Her recurring dream: finding a small vintage shop set in the side of a decaying building; rows and rows of old clothes to get lost in. She was trying on the perfect blue wool coat, a Pendleton or maybe London Fog, perfect for walking in the fall, by the tall houses on an Amsterdam street. Then the crows; then the coat disappears and she feels the dream escaping, tries to conjure it back. Crows. She burrows her head under the pillows, stretches her warm legs into the cool, vacant places in the sheets."
By Sean E. Thomas (Whiskey Creek Press, $17.95)
The blurb: The sixth in a series of crime novels, Alaska State Trooper Robert Sable investigates a serial killer who uses carbon monoxide to kill alumni from Chugach High School and their families.
Excerpt: "When Sable and McCabe arrived back at the office, Sable cleared the last case from the white board while McCabe made coffee. Five desks were arranged in a horseshoe. Each desk had a couple photographs of a wife or special someone. Behind McCabe's desk was a poster of all the Star Trek captains. Each had autographed his likeness.
"Sable wrote down the potential victims they knew. He listed carbon monoxide as the killing method and the clues: hydrochloric acid, ferric oxide, drilled holes, and the murderer's signature.
"McCabe looked at the board and raised an eyebrow. 'We've got another serial killer on our hands. We get rid of one and another pops up.' "
-- Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News