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When a gang pounds R.J. into ripping-off antiques from an old man he has befriended, he must find a way to save his life without sacrificing his soul. Set in a forgotten valley near the haunting Mission San Miguel Arcangel, in 1978, fifteen-year-old R.J. rants about this summer caring for his sibs in their trailer, running cons with his dude Manny, and helping the weirdos in this lost valley. Bones of a Saint is at once a mystery as he investigates the disappearance of an abused girl; suspense as he defies the ruthless Blackjacks; coming-of-age as he discovers secrets within his family; and spiritual journey as he explores his own bizarre Catholicism. These elements are woven together through his relationship to the ancient Mr. Leguin and the secret within his root cellar.
"A grittiness and an honesty that earns the reader's trust from page one. It's like nothing I've read in years."
John Corey Whaley, National Book Award finalist for Noggin.
"Surreal but at the same time so real, and intensely meaningful."
Maggie Thrash, L.A. Times Book Prize nominated author of Honor Girl
"The story reads fast and tight and colorful and your eyes always feel low to the ground. The dusty landscape and every object and every person, and even hope itself, pulls you forward toward an ending which is like the sting of a scorpion. You may not see yourself in this book, but the book never lets you out of its sight."
Jack Gantos, Newbery winning author
If you were to enter some paradox-propelled time machine, perhaps located just beyond the men's room of the Federal Bar in Burbank, and you were to emerge into a time when it was truly a bank---sometime later than 1916...let's say 1959---and you were to stroll out past white-gloved tellers onto Lankerheim, unfold your irony map, and find your way past strip malls, vacant fields, pastel housing tracts, haunted pools, delusional buildings and odd churches, you would arrive at the heart of these stories. Stories that explore how the elements---earth, air, fire and water---can nurture or damage the lives of those living on the edge of this unique metropolis.
"Grant Farley, one of the most talented and creative writers I know, deftly combines suspense with poignant insights into the human soul. He is a must read."
David Putnam, author of the Bruno Johnson novels, including The Vanquished
"Grant Farley has the talent for writing quiet stories in elegant prose that leave you gasping as he twists the knife when you least expect it."
Sheila Finch, author of the Guild of Xenolinguists universe, including Reading the Bones