Format Hardcover
Publication Date 02/06/24
ISBN 9781639365999
Trim Size / Pages 6 x 9 in / 384

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The Smoke in Our Eyes

A Novel

James Grady

An action-filled coming of age novel about love, vengeance, corruption, and justice by the acclaimed author of Six Days of the Condor.

"Grady's style is loose, colorful, challenging and fun. I sometimes thought of Orwell’s novel 1984, sometimes of the Dylan song 'Desolation Row.'"—Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post

"Grady is a master of intrigue."—John Grisham

Set in 1959, the "year the music died," The Smoke in Our Eyes is a cinematic, clock-ticking saga set in a small Montana town. When a fatal car accident shatters ten-year-old Lucas's world, he finds himself confronting crime and vengeance, humor and heroism, all against the backdrop of growing up.

Alongside the tightly written drama of Lucas and his family, Grady, author of the classic "Condor" series, evokes a heady mood and sense of place. From the Space Race and the first warnings of global climate change, to the brutal racism of segregation and the hope of a new generation to move us forward, The Smoke in Our Eyes is a fresh rending of rural noir that captures both an intimate story and the volitility of mid-century America.

James Grady’s first novel Six Days Of The Condor became the classic Robert Redford movie Three Days Of The Condor and the current Max Irons TV series Condor.  Grady has received Italy’s Raymond Chandler Medal, France’s Grand Prix Du Roman Noir and Japan’s Baka-Misu literature award, two Regardies Magazine short story awards, and been a Mystery Writers of America Edgar finalist.  He's published more than a dozen novels and three times that many short stories, been a muckraker journalist and a scriptwriter for film and television. In 2008, London’s Daily Telegraph named Grady as one of “50 crime writers to read before you die.”  In 2015, The Washington Post compared his prose to George Orwell and Bob Dylan.


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Endorsements & Reviews

"Beyond painting the landscape so effectively, the author pays close attention to period details unique to the 1950s: the early days of television, the rotary phones, the music on the radio, the cars, folks’ healthy dose of fear about communism taking over the country, and the overt patriotism. The Smoke in Our Eyes is a love letter to simpler, bygone days when people’s sense of awe and wonder could be brought out more easily." Washington Independent Review of Books
“The excellent coming-of-age story is a change of pace for the legendary thriller author. Here, in this delicate but haunting noir, the young characters are beautifully crafted, the story is dramatic and utterly believable, and the time period is vividly evoked.” Booklist
"Though the threat of violence looms throughout the narrative, Grady delivers a spare tale of domestic tragedy, rich with nostalgia and memorable characters. Larry McMurty fans will enjoy themselves."

Publishers Weekly
"Small towns have long been the launch pads for great American literature, from To Kill A Mockingbird to The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. It's time to welcome one more to the club. The Smoke in Our Eyes is an ambitiously expansive and yet winsomely intimate portrait of a young boy growing up in Vernon, Montana, in the late 1950s, a town that, as his sister puts it, 'has you pegged the day you're born.' Nobody tells a story better than Grady. With humor and wisdom, with a marvelous eye for the visceral details that bring an entire world into being, Grady chronicles a boy—and a nation—on the threshold of great change. Neither will ever be the same again." Julia Keller, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
“This isn’t a coming-of-age story of a young boy, this is the coming-of-age story of a young nation, rendered on the canvas of rural America, circa 1959. A heart-rending meditation on how innocence becomes wisdom, how fate becomes freedom, and how nostalgia reveals truth. I loved this book!” Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
"Grady pivots from the intrigue of The Condor to a powerful, heartfelt coming-of-age tale set in the Last Best Place. Young Lucas gets his first pair of glasses and a good, long look at the underbelly of his hometown. From first crushes and family ties to profound love and deep injustice, The Smoke in Our Eyes is a brilliant portrait of an era. This book feels like home." Janet Skeslien Charles, national bestselling author of The Paris Library
"The Smoke in Our Eyes gives us a propulsive coming-of-age novel with a heart as big as its Montana high plains setting." Gwen Florio, award-winning Montana novelist and journalist
"James Grady’s The Smoke In Our Eyes rounds up family, community, and the land like his rugged settler-cowhand forebearers… I savored the behaviors, concerns, speech patterns, accomplishments, failures, eccentricities, ids, egos, and the general feast of America and our place of origin in Smoke."

Sidner Larson, PhD, author of Catch Colt, published poet, and law professor of Indigenous studies at the University of Arizona and Navaho Technical University
Praise for James Grady

"A cinematic thriller racing through the heartland of our American now." Stephen Hunter, Pulitzer Prize-winner
“A cross-section of American types—visualize an updated version of Chaucer’s Canterbury pilgrims—whose actions, often enigmatic and ominously unsettling, are relayed in fast-moving, syncopated prose, each sentence like a knife-thrust. It is a truth universally acknowledged that suspense novels set on trains can’t help be anything other than terrific." Michael Dirda, The Washington Post