by C. Matthew Smith
Review in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution: Thriller pits national park agent vs. displaced landowner in ‘Twentymile’
Review in Reckon Review: Deeper than the Holler
When wildlife biologist Alex Lowe is found dead inside Great Smoky Mountains National Park, it looks on the surface like a suicide. But Tsula Walker, Special Agent with the National Park Service's Investigative Services Branch and a member of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians, isn't so sure.
Tsula's investigation will lead her deep into the park and face-to-face with a group of lethal men on a mission to reclaim a historic homestead. The encounter will irretrievably alter the lives of all involved and leave Tsula fighting for survival--not only from those who would do her harm, but from a looming winter storm that could prove just as deadly.
A finely crafted literary thriller, Twentymile delivers a propulsive story of long-held grievances, new hopes, and the contentious history of the land at its heart.
More Praise for Twentymile:
"C. Matthew Smith’s original, intelligent novel delivers unforgettable characters and an irresistible, page-turning pace while grappling with deeply fascinating issues of land and heritage and what and who is native.... Twentymile is an accomplished first novel from a talented and fully-formed writer."
--James A. McLaughlin, Edgar Award-winning author of Bearskin
"Twentymile is packed with everything I love: A strong, female character; a wilderness setting; gripping storytelling; masterful writing. Smith captures powerfully and deeply the effects of the past and what we do to one another and ourselves for the sake of ownership and possession, for what we wrongfully and rightfully believe is ours. I loved every word. A beautiful and brutal and extraordinary debut."
--Diane Les Becquets, bestselling author of Breaking Wild and The Last Woman in the Forest
"In C. Matthew Smith’s engrossing novel Twentymile, a park service biologist turns up dead in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and discord regarding annexed land fuels a treacherous chase....a disturbing, potent thriller about ownership and trespassing, as well as unrealized dreams and aggression."
--Karen Rigby, Foreword Reviews
"...a taut, page-turning thriller..."
--Phil Kloer, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
"Smith’s spellbinding debut takes readers on a murderous journey through the backwoods of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, with indomitable Cherokee and National Park Service investigator Tsula Walker leading the way. A thrilling and evocative tale."
--Scott Graham, National Outdoor Book Award-winning author of Canyonlands Carnage
"A highly enjoyable read suited best to those who like their thrillers to simmer for awhile before erupting in a blizzard of action and unpredictability with a future promise of grander adventures."
--Kashif Hussain, Best Thriller Books
“Twentymile is a moody, atmospheric tale of family, vengeance, and anger too-long held, all set in the heart of the Great Smoky Mountains. Ultimately, it is the story of reaching for- discovering and recovering- home, and how such a complicated yearning can play out on both sides of the law."
--Steph Post, author of Miraculum, Lightwood, and A Tree Born Crooked
"C. Matthew Smith's gripping tale centers around the history of our public lands and the people who use and protect them. Twentymile is a tremendously entertaining first novel from a writer who knows how to spin a good yarn."
--Rob Phillips, bestselling author of The Cascade Killer, Cascade Vengeance, and Cascade Predator
"Beauty, brutality, and heartbreak merge at Twentymile in this must-read debut novel from C. Matthew Smith!"
--David Tromblay, author of Sangre Road and As You Were