This is the latest in the rural noir pile, and 50 or so pages in feels like a very good entry indeed.
From the Blurb:
Perhaps if Sweetapple hadn’t stopped to help the idiots who had just near run him off the road in their ute, things may have gone entirely differently.
Times are tough for everybody and Graeme Sweetapple is making the best of what land he has left. Once the Sweetapple family owned a working farm but now the holding is small, and Sweetapple is not producing enough of an income to support his dog, let alone fund his own needs. A little work for a neighbour sometimes brings in the coin, as does Sweetapple’s occasional side hustle of stealing cattle. It is the latter activity that Sweetapple is engaged in one night when he stops to helps two people out of a car wreck. Both are activists from the site of a nearby coal mine, carrying some dangerous stolen goods in their vehicle. Before the cops get there, Sweetapple finds himself agreeing to take the dismantled parts of a bomb away in his truck, without the slightest clue of what it is he will do with them.
Sweetapple’s flighty young love interest Carson is not sure that Sweetapple should be doing any work at all for super shady Bob from next door, and that includes teaching Bob’s ex politician wife how to ride. Tasked to steal a gorgeous horse named Retribution for Bob, Sweetapple falls for the mare and soon realizes he hasn’t been paying enough attention to Carson who has struck up a friendship with Luke, another town drifter with his own secrets and struggles to hide. The three of them come together to form a plan of revenge when Bob reclaims Retribution from Sweetapple’s care. The purity of hate sweeps across Sweetapple to meet destruction with destruction.