“Not since True Grit have I read a novel as charming, exciting, suspenseful, and pitch-perfect as The Which Way Tree. Elizabeth Crook’s new book is winning from first page to last.”

That’s what Ron Hansen, the author of The Kid and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford had to say about our next book recommendation by an Austin author. This week our focus is on Elizabeth Crook and The Which Way Tree, which is now in paperback and available for online order at BookPeople.

The novel is the story of a young girl’s frightening and poignant odyssey to track down the panther that killed her mother. In the tradition of the great pursuit narratives, The Which Way Tree is a breathtaking saga of one steadfast girl’s revenge against an implacable and unknowable beast. Yet with the comedic undertones of Benjamin’s storytelling, it is also a timeless tale full of warmth and humor, and a testament to the enduring love of a brother and sister caught up in a perilous adventure that takes on the dimensions of a legend.

Crook has been an Austin resident for decades, and her roots in Texas are deep: She lived in Nacogdoches, Texas and then San Marcos, Texas with her parents and brother and sister until age seven when the family moved to Washington D.C., where her father was director of VISTA for Lyndon Johnson. Two years later her father was appointed Ambassador to Australia and the family moved to Canberra. When they returned to Texas Elizabeth attended public schools in San Marcos, graduating from San Marcos High School. She attended Baylor University for two years and graduated from Rice University in 1982.

She has written four other novels: The Raven’s Bride and Promised Lands, The Night Journal, and most recently, Monday, Monday, for which she won the 2015 Jesse H. Jones award for fiction.

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