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n Irish-French-German Kansan native (who’s heard all the Wizard of Oz references), Cara Duryea exists in Kansas City, Missouri and on occasion can be caught engaging in such malarkey as throwing coins at wishing wells, dancing in the rain, and writing volumes of poetry (a.k.a. “therapy”), chapters in journals, scribbles on sticky notes and paper napkins, and random thoughts on yellow legal pads that will someday become a scene in one of her fiction books...or fodder for the slush file.
In between writing and a job at a law firm, Cara participates in local writing events and practices yoga and dance to maintain the last vestiges of sanity. She attained her MFA in Creative Writing through the University of New Orleans in 2014 but has been writing short stories and novels since age nine.
Ever think about the one who got away?
How far would you go to find them again?
Hunter Ryder and her stepbrother, Wesley Ellis, are living in a rural Kansas town trailer park with an alcoholic, abusive father (his) and a neglectful, depressed mother (hers). Both have big dreams – Wesley wants to be a famous musician, and Hunter wants to act on Broadway. With only each other as support, the two stumble upon young, first love and the grip that it holds on teenage hearts. When a violent encounter at home forces them to strike out on their own, they navigate the landscape of truck stops, lot lizards, and the traveling ministry to become a killer and a minister in the name of love… and revenge.
A gritty, uncompromising and hypnotic story, Truck Stop Love finds author Cara Duryea taking clichés and making them into unforgettable people. Not an easy task for any author but Duryea digs deep to find her characters inner demons and in doing so draws her readers along a rarely written path. There’s little by way of redemption for Wesley and Hunter and whilst some readers might find it too extreme it’s Duryea’s unwillingness to compromise that produces such a strong character study. This is Wesley's and Hunter’s story. Two teenagers with fundamentally good hearts. We feel them coming to pieces and their attempts to maintain control. We want them to find some form of happiness but at each twist and turn it seems they are destined for a darker path. On this level, it’s deliberately downbeat and unflinchingly detailed with Duryea’s story proving a thought-provokingly unpredictable experience, and not an easy one to forget.
A highly memorable and satisfying debut novel from Cara Duryea, Truck Stop Love is strongly recommended.