“An intense, vivid portrait of braided lives.” —KIRKUS
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In the bestselling novel Montana 1948, Larry Watson presented a prize-winning evocation of a time, a place, and a family. Now Watson returns to the vast Montana landscape with a stunning prequel that illuminates a family “universal in their flaws and virtues” (Washington Post).

In Montana, the Hayden name is law. It carries an aura of privilege and power that doesn’t stop at the state border. Here, Watson invites us to get to know this family intimately: from patriarch Julian Hayden as he carves a new life out of the Montana wilderness, to Gail Hayden, Sheriff Wesley Hayden’s spirited wife and moral compass—and to the Hayden boys, Wesley and Frank, as they take an ill-fated hunting trip and learn the implications of the Hayden name, even outside the jurisdiction and on the wrong side of the law.

With the precision of a master storyteller, Watson moves seamlessly among the strong and hard-bitten characters that make up the Hayden family, and in the process opens an evocative window on the very heart of the American West.

Publish Date
5.25 × 7.5 × 0.625 in
9.5 oz

Larry Watson

Larry Watson is the author of numerous novels, including Montana 1948, American Boy, As Good As Gone, and Let Him Go, which was adapted into a film by Focus Features and released in 2020. Born in Rugby, North Dakota, he grew up in Bismarck and is now Visiting Professor at Marquette University. He lives in Milwaukee.

Praise and Prizes

  • “Though told in the third person, the stories in Justice are rendered in much the same delicate, supple style that Larry Watson gave to his narrator of Montana 1948… . It’s an accommodating style, suiting the cadences of the voices the author conjures, making graceful shifts from observation to insight, capturing the spare beauty of the landscape.”

    New York Times
  • “A worthy collection, filled with rugged prose sometimes as biting as a northern plains wind, the next page as inviting and lyrical as a well-stoked wood stove … Larry Watson writes of people universal in their flaws and virtues, a community that cannot be defined or limited to one region or genre.”

    Washington Post
  • “Larry Watson writes with ruthless honesty about his characters’ stunted dreams, unpredictable emotions and outbursts of senseless violence, showing once again that he understands not only the West but the untamed hearts that have roamed it.”

    Publishers Weekly
    *starred review*
  • “Larry Watson’s powerful prose easily recreates the vivid beauty of Big Sky country.”

    *starred review*
  • “With prose as unassuming and a narrative style as authentic as a Montana landscape, Justice will inevitably have a reservation at the select table set for only the very finest fiction.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune
  • “Larry Watson’s tales are unforgettable tales of experience, set in a place as unchanging as any in America; a rare place where we still look for roots and a vanished frontier, and where we still uncover horrors that bring down reminders of what it is to be human no matter where we are.”