Sharon reviews Devils unto Dust by Emma Berquist, Greenwillow Books, 2018, 496 pages.
Willie loves the lonesome beauty of the desert. How the sky stretches forever, and the land does its best to keep up. There’s more beauty out there than in the small dried up town of Glory, where she lives with her brothers and sister. Willie’s mother died of the shakes, and left them with a father who’s a drunk and a thief. Willie does the best she can. She protects her siblings from the hunters, the Judge and mostly from the shakes. When someone comes down with the shakes, it starts with a scratch, then changes them until they become a zombie, consuming all they can catch.
When her father steals a fortune from one of the town’s leaders, it’s up to Willie to come up with the money (impossible) or to go out into the empty expanse to find her father amid the dangers of the desert or the worse dangers of the those with the shakes and the hunters who kill them. She uses the last of her money to hire two hunters to accompany her on her search. There, out in the midst of the sky and the land and the beauty, Willie searches for the father who left his family to the whims of the Judge, who rules Glory with an iron fist. And for the money he stole, in order to ransom her family, who, to her, are even more beautiful than the desert.
This story is about searching for what you need in order to save who you love. It’s about beauty and danger, courage and loss, The Walking Dead and Louis L’Amour.