Summary of Gunbarrel Hill, a novel.
A middle-aged children’s book writer, Paul Harris lives an isolated life paralyzed by loss and failed relationships. Although longing for connection, he is his own worst enemy. When a close childhood friend, Lainey Leandros, surprises him by showing up after many years on a forced leave of absence from her job, he is still drawn to her, a nomadic, neurotic reporter. Her arrival provokes memories of a tragic mistake leading to Paul’s cousin Jeremy’s death long ago. Paul and Lainey share the secret of that mistake. Hungering for connection, he sees opportunity in her reappearance. At first reluctant to deepen the relationship, Lainey grows closer and considers planning a life with Paul.
When Paul returns to his upstate New York hometown for his mother’s funeral, he explores scrapbooks and the countryside of his rural upbringing. Piecing together memories from that tragic afternoon long ago, he stumbles across a detail that changes everything. Realizing he had been misled and his memories were incomplete, he returns home to face a devastating lie and try to claim the life he should have lived.
Written in parallel story lines in the present and the past and set in Ohio and rural upstate New York, Gunbarrel Hill is a story about mistaken assumptions and the strength, and sometimes the cost, of human connection.