Allen Morris Jones and Russell Rowland are contemporary authors with novels deeply entrenched in the rural soul and soil of rural Montana. The authors joined Resounds co-hosts Corby Skinner and Anna Paige in the studio to talk about their newest novels (both murder mysteries) set on the agricultural backroads of Montana.
Allen Morris Jones is the author of the acclaimed first novel Last Year’s River (2001); a highly influential consideration of the ethics of hunting, A Quiet Place of Violence (1997); and was co-editor, with William Kittredge, of The Best of Montana’s Short Fiction.
His most recent novel, A Bloom of Bones, (2016) is a murder mystery that takes place near Jordan, Montana. The novel beings when Eli Singer, a rancher and poet, sees his life upended when a long-buried corpse—which turns out to be a murder victim from Eli's childhood—erodes out of a hillside on his property. The Library Journal said of A Bloom of Bones, “Jones’s novel seems to have emerged from an older, more elemental world, a mythic, almost biblical place where it’s taken for granted that the sons of the fathers will be visited on the sons.”
Born in 1970, Allen Jones is also the author of more than one hundred published short stories, articles, essays, and poems. He began his twenty-year career in publishing as Editor of the magazine Big Sky Journal before going on to work as an acquisitions editor for the Lyons Press and as publisher of his own small book house, Bangtail Press.
Jones lives in Bozeman, Montana with his wife and young son. He has a book of poetry forthcoming from Helena-based Territorial Press.
Russell Rowland is a third generation Montanan, born in Bozeman in 1957. The first of his trilogy, In Open Spaces, (2002) made a fairly big splash with a New York Times Review and spent a week on the San Francisco Chronicle’s bestseller list. Ivan Doig said of In Open Spaces, “Russell Rowland has given us a vivid and distinctive piece of homespun to take its proper place in the literary quilt of the West.”
His second and third novels, The Watershed Years (2007) and High and Inside (2012) were both finalists for the High Plains Book Award.
Over the course of two years, Rowland traveled to every county in Montana, interviewing people about what’s happening around the state and read nearly 100 books about the region. The result was Fifty-Six Counties, a combination travelogue, memoir, and historical account of what makes Montana the unique place that it has become.
Released in 2018, Arbuckle is a love story, a murder mystery and the prequel to his debut novel In Open Spaces.