Colorado, 1919. Photographer Neal Stephens, home from the War, is blackmailed by the sheriff over his secret marriage to a black woman in France. When the sheriff is murdered, Neal’s investigation calls up memories of the trenches and his search for his dead wife, as he untangles the connections among the murder, the coalminers’ strike, and his mysterious anarchist father.
“In the Somme Valley a British soldier teaches his fellows to hide cigarette coals inside their mouths. Half a world away, a war-ruined photographer drinks in a bar beneath a Colorado butchery, blood dripping from the floorboards into ashtrays. Gutierrez writes with a metaphorical gift and fine hand of an age of war and upheaval where anarchists, coal barons, Pinkertons, corrupt police, broken idealists, and broken families fight to claim history’s muddied field. . . . The Trench Angel announces a great new talent set to shine for a long time.” – Alexander Parsons, Leaving Disneyland
“Gutierrez’s splendid debut bypasses the archives, whisking us straightaway into the seedy saloons, the twisting back alleys, and the trenches. . . . Like Denis Johnson’s Train Dreams, this potent, lyrical novel unspools beyond its own time and lands squarely, unforgettably in our own.” – Tim Horvath, Understories
MICHAEL KEENAN GUTIERREZ is the author of The Trench Angel and earned degrees from UCLA, the University of Massachusetts, and the University of New Hampshire. His work has been published in The Collagist, Scarab, The Pisgah Review, Untoward, The Boiler, and Crossborder. His screenplay, The Granite State, was a finalist at the Austin Film Festival and he has received fellowships from The University of Houston and the New York Public Library. He lives with his wife in Chapel Hill where he teaches writing at the University of North Carolina. His website is michaelkeenangutierrez.com