A fast-paced literary thriller that peels back the layers of small-town police corruption, drugs, and teen disillusionment to expose unlikely heroes and unexpected villains
When two teens, Dallan and Hannah, attend the opening night of the infamous Sunsetter rodeo, they find themselves entangled in the suspicious deaths of their two closest loved ones. Driven by loss, rage, and their gut instincts for justice, they channel their grief and confusion into uncovering the criminal truth about their small town of Perron, a prairie community that has been long deserted by industry, leaving a ghostly emptiness of abandoned gravel pits, golf courses, and storefronts. They soon discover that Perron — with its population of bored and discontented youth, as well as police officers who are only looking out for themselves — is the ideal place for a mysterious and omnipresent drug trade to flourish. Soon enough, Dallan and Hannah are being tailed by Deputy Arnason, who has been tasked with protecting the reputation of the local police, even as his conscience screams in protest with every move he makes.
Equal parts crime novel and literary fiction, Sunsetter is an unflinching story about the opioid crisis, teen isolation, police brutality, and the fickleness of late-stage capitalism.
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Curtis LeBlanc is the author of two poetry collections, Little Wild and Birding in the Glass Age of Isolation. He is the co-founder and managing editor of Rahila’s Ghost Press, and his work has appeared in Joyland, The Fiddlehead, the Malahat Review, PRISM International, and elsewhere. Curtis lives in Vancouver, British Columbia.
Published: April 2023
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5 in.
“The action moves slowly at first, but builds to an explosive conclusion. LeBlanc’s doomed young people put a human face on the horrendous impact of the drug crisis.” — Publishers Weekly
“Suspenseful and narratively surprising, LeBlanc uses sharp prose to tell a story of friendship, revenge, and reclaiming agency amidst corruption and unjust systems. Sunsetter illustrates the violence, racism, and toxic masculinity found in rural prairie towns that have been developed by industry, as well as the beauty of the bonds between the people who have to survive there. Sunsetter paints the prairies in all its complex strokes, and with every twist and turn, we are reminded that courage often lives in the under-recognized.” — Jessica Johns, author of Bad Cree
“Vividly written in precise prose, Sunsetter’s menace and momentum comes from Curtis LeBlanc’s capacity to create memorable, real characters.” — Naben Ruthnum, author of Helpmeet and Find You in the Dark
“It’s an ideal thriller, filled with shady characters, corrupt cops, car crashes and sudden violence. LeBlanc, author of two earlier poetry collections, clearly loves the genre, with his novel reminiscent of other stories from the hardboiled (Jim Thompson’s gritty morality tales) to the character-driven (Joe Lansdale’s southern-set yarns) to thrillers with a hint of horror (such as Ray Bradbury’s haunted environs). LeBlanc’s care as a poet creates rich and precise prose—the small-town prairie setting feels lived in, and the smell of beer, gunpowder and desperation lingers in the pages.” — Alberta Views
“Sunsetter is high-grade prairie noir suffused with literary atmosphere. LeBlanc writes with empathy and a poet’s precision.” — Sam Wiebe, award-winning author of Hell and Gone and Sunset and Jericho
“Sunsetter is a blast of fast-paced literary fiction, tumbled up with some great characters and a searching generosity for all those left-behind towns and their left-behind people. I read this book so fast, the pages nearly couldn’t keep up.” — Michael Christie, author of Greenwood
“LeBlanc is a very talented writer who has created memorable characters and a carefully crafted plot.” — Shelbyville News
“Part crime fiction, part literary read, it’s an engaging book and well worth the time for this slow burn to full momentum.” — Murder in Common