This novel is an American stand-alone.
Sixteen-year-old Ree Dolly is all alone with a mother ´gone daffy´ and two younger brothers. The police come looking for her father who left months ago, telling her that unless her father turns up in court, they will lose their home which her father put up as security.
Ree needs her father, dead or alive, and the only way to find him among the taciturn country folks in the Ozark Mountains is to search for him herself.
This fine, little mystery has quite a lot in common with the British novel Blacklands which I reviewed last week.
First of all there is the bleak and remote environment. The Ozark Mountain is the kind of place where you are surprised every time you are reminded that these people actually watch television. They have a long tradition of taking matters into their own hands, and you´d better obey their code of honour. Besides, producing methamphetamine is quite a common line of business.
Second, there is no stable and reliable father figure in the house, and the mothers are not exactly strong or active; thus the oldest child feels responsible for setting things right. Steven and Ree both assume the responsibility for the well-being of the whole family far too early in life.
Finally, Ree and Steven believe that by finding a missing person (Steven´s uncle, her father) they can restore some sort of order.
So there are several similarities between these two intriguing stories, yet Winter´s Bone seems even darker and more desolate than Blacklands.
I think I bought the book myself.