Daniel Woodrell is able to lend uncanny logic to harsh, even criminal, behaviour in his wrenching first collection of short fiction. Desperation - both material and psychological - motivates his characters. A husband cruelly avenges the murder of his wife's pet; an injured rapist is cared for by a young girl, until she reaches breaking point; a disturbed veteran of Iraq is murdered for his erratic behaviour; an outsider's house is set on fire by an angry neighbour.
There is also the tenderness and loyalty of the vulnerable in these stories - between spouses, parents and children, siblings and comrades in arms - which brings the troubled, sorely tested cast of characters to vivid, relatable life.
Daniel Woodrell was born in the Missouri Ozarks, where he still lives. He left school and enlisted in the Marines the week he turned seventeen, and received his BA at the age of twenty-seven. He also has an MFA from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. He is the author of eight novels including Winter's Bone, the film of which was nominated for four Oscars in 2011, Woe to Live On, the basis for the film Ride with the Devil directed by Ang Lee, and Tomato Red, which won the PEN West Award for fiction in 1999. Five of his novels have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the year. His most recent novel was The Maid's Version, published by Sceptre in 2013.