From the Publisher
"The Signal takes us into terrain that's stunning and terrible. In doing so, it becomes both an elegy to a broken marriage and a heart- stopping, suspenseful thriller. It's a difficult journey, but relax: with Ron Carlson, you really are in expert hands."
-New York Times Book Review
"Carlson never drops an extra word or a false phrase, even as "The Signal" accelerates like an avalanche, suspicion rolling into fear and then roaring down with a conclusion that shakes the ground. If men can't be brought back to fiction by books as fine as this one, it's their own damn fault."
"Ron Carlson's new novel is a love story and a wilderness adventure that mounts to a climax of shocking, and satisfying, violence...Carlson paces his tale with craft and care, never hurrying. "The Signal" is about broken innocence and how, for the individual at least, balance might be found again. Carlson's a romantic - even when he's writing about failings, folly and violence. This novel...has a lingering elegance and power. Lives go wrong, "The Signal" says, but they can be repaired too, if we find our centers and attend to what's around us."
-Los Angeles Times
"Read Ron Carlson's latest THE SIGNAL and you'll be convinced that the answer to your worries resides in the woods, in getting back to the basics... It's a sweet, tidy little book about a broken rancher. And yet it won't just help you pass the time, it will help you out."
"Long revered as a master of the short story, Carlson has a talent for describing landscape (both internal and external), and that translates here intact. At fewer than 200 pages, its beach ready, too."
The dense Wind River Mountains of western Wyoming is where Carlson (Five Skies) sets his brooding latest, a tale of expired love and desperate measures. Mack, son of a longtime rancher, has made many missteps in life, culminating in a recent stint in jail where "he'd rusted like an old post when the weather turned." While he's in jail, his recently ex-wife Vonnie agrees to join him one last time on their annual ritual of backpacking through the Wyoming wilderness to fish, camp and rediscover each other. Mack, though, has a hidden motive: a friend/technical genius has hired him to retrieve a valuable drone that's crash-landed in the forest. Carlson describes the couple's six days wandering the wooded terrain in delicate, measured prose, careful to miss neither the lush scenery nor the incrementally amplified tension as Mack edges closer to his prize and shady characters from the past appear. Carlson has produced a work of masterful fiction, combining the sad inevitability of a doomed relationship with sheer nail-biting suspense. (June)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
As in his wonderful Five Skies, Carlson again offers readers a broken man endeavoring to heal himself through nature. Following his dad's sudden death, Mack, who comes from a long line of Wyoming ranchers, takes to muling drugs to raise fast cash to save the family homestead. Add months of constant drinking and a fling with an even more damaged woman, and Mack finds himself despondent, divorced, and jailed. Free again, he convinces ex-wife Vonnie to come on one final fishing trip high in the mountains they both love. For him, it's both an attempt to win her back and a secret, high-paying job to locate a classified government object that fell from a military plane. Vonnie simply wants closure and a last good-bye. Their plans evaporate when they encounter something more nefarious in the deep, silent, engulfing forest than anything they'd faced before. VERDICT This character-driven story unfurls slowly through dialog, exposition, and flashbacks. Simple, taut, and elegant, it's a beautifully told tale of love and redemption that all readers will appreciate.Mike Rogers, LJX/LJ