Hard Twisted


In May of 1934, outside of Hugo, Oklahoma, a homeless man and his 13 year-old daughter are befriended by a Texas drifter newly released from the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kansas.  The drifter, Clint Palmer, lures father and daughter to Texas, where the father, Dillard Garrett, mysteriously disappears, and where his daughter Lucile begins a one-year ordeal that culminates in four Utah killings and Palmer’s notorious Greenville, Texas “skeleton murder” trial of 1935.

Hard Twisted tells the true story of Lucile “Lottie” Garrett in a spare and elegiac prose style reminiscent of Cormac McCarthy’s border trilogy.  The novel imagines Palmer and Lottie’s flight through New Mexico and Colorado and their eventual appearance in Blanding, Utah, where “they rode side by side on the main street like thin and ragged heralds of some coming apocalypse.”  The outlaws seek employment herding sheep for Monument Valley trading post impresario Harry Goulding, only to find themselves thrust into a range war with Mormon cattleman William E. Oliver, the last of the legendary frontier lawmen.

Lottie Garrett’s true saga of survival and redemption is one of the great, untold stories of the American West.  It is also an intensely personal tale of a young girl’s coming of age in a brutal world “in which she herself was but a thing adrift . . . like some speck of flotsam that rose or sank at the whim of forces beyond human sense or reckoning.”

Best Historical Novel, 2010
SouthWest Writers Annual Writing Contest

“A gritty, gripping read, and one that begs to be put on film.”

Los Angeles Times

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For a video trailer that previews the true story behind the award-winning novel, watch below.