The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo
When Silas Van Loy flees home on horseback to avoid capture for his brother’s murder, he is soon followed by both the police and his brother’s wife, Lena, who, intent on exacting revenge, journeys across the wilds of Northern California in the hopes of catching Silas for one final showdown. Stansel follows the chase and shares the story of the brothers’ rise from hardscrabble childhood to their reign as the region’s preeminent horse trainers, tracking the tense sibling rivalry that ultimately leads to the elder’s death.
A fully realized tale that challenges notions of the modern West, The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo will satisfy fans of Kent Haruf, Larry McMurtry, Molly Gloss, and Smith Henderson, and establish Stansel as a new voice in this grand tradition.
A stirring narrative of hostility, pursuit, and the desire for vengeance.”
“Beautifully rendered . . . A captivating novel, elegantly spare in language but big in purpose.”
—Library Journal, *starred* review
“The Last Cowboys of the San Geronimo is a contemporary Western with biblical implications chocked with passion, regret and the things that work on you like a burr under a saddle blanket. Ian Stansel has written a novel that shares the trail with the likes of Edward Abbey, Cormac McCarthy, and Larry McMurtry.”
—Craig Johnson, New York Times-bestselling author of the Walt Longmire Mysteries, the basis for Netflix original series Longmire
"A taut and powerful modern Western. I picked up The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo and did not put it down again until I had read the last, moving sentence. Follow Lena on horseback as she pursues a killer through the wilds of Northern California, and in the end you will find yourself someplace unexpected. One of the most compelling novels I’ve read in a long time."
—Eowyn Ivey, author of the To the Bright Edge of the World and the Pulitzer finalist The Snow Child
“Ian Stansel's debut dives headlong into the anachronism of the modern cowboy—a beautiful and brutal novel about time: the expanse of it, the burden of it, but, more than anything, the crushing realization when it grows short.”
—James Scott, author of The Kept
“A fierce and luminous study of sibling rivalry and complicated love, intensified by the rush of hooves.”
“Although set in the twentieth-first century, this fine novel has a mythic power and resonance. Ian Stansel is a gifted young writer who starts his novel at a gallop and never lets up until the story's final reckoning.”
—Ron Rash, author of Serena, Above the Waterfall, The Risen, and more
"Ian Stansel’s debut novel is so rich in evocative detail and gripping incident that I thought at several moments I was riding fast next to its sharply drawn characters across rough ground. Like All the Pretty Horses before it, The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo inks an indelible portrait of a hard, gorgeous world that is both timeless and in deep, momentous flux. I’m grateful to Mr. Stansel for having written it.”
—Laird Hunt, author of Neverhome and The Evening Road
“With his debut novel, The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo, Ian Stansel confidently updates the American Western while honoring its most daring storytellers: Charles Portis and Larry McMurtry. In taut, cinematic prose, Stansel considers the romance of frontier justice, the seductive power of a good old-fashioned horse chase/manhunt and the heartbreaking costs of fraternal rivalry. For me, the true star of The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo is Lena Van Loy, a stoic horsewoman who emerges as a fearless rider, a clear-headed tracker and a compassionate but avenging wife. With plenty of true grit, plot twists and reversals of fortune, The Last Cowboys of San Geronimo builds toward an unforgettable showdown.A great read beautifully written!”
—Amber Dermont, New York Times-bestselling author of The Starboard Sea and Damage Control