In West of Here (Algonquin Books; February 15), Bainbridge Island writer and Washington State Book Award winner Jonathan Evison braids two tales, one set in the 1890s, the other in 2006, about Port Bonita, a fictional town on the Olympic Peninsula. We like the cast of characters in this wild, Thomas Pynchon–esque romp—Lewis and Clark–grade explorers, greedy dam-builders, ex-cons, environmentalists, and an erstwhile high school basketball star–turned–cryptozoologist (a bigfoot hunter). But we love the way Evison renders a Northwest storm even more: “…snow fell slantwise in sheets, whistling as it came, stinging with its velocity, gathering rapidly in drifts against anything able to withstand its force.”

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