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Alan Heathcock might have chosen not to pursue a career as a pastor, but God is never far from his mind.

Just like his highly acclaimed 2011 short story collection "Volt," Boise-based Heathcock's new novel "40" digs deep into questions about faith in a cruel world as his characters fight to hold onto their humanity. This time, instead of setting his stories in a small farming town, his first novel-length effort looks 18 years in the future to an America ripped apart by mega-storms, famine and a civil war. At the center of the clashing sides is Army Private Mazzy Goodwin, the hunt for her missing younger sister and her mysterious pair of wings.

Margaret Carmel is a former reporter with the Idaho Press and an avid book lover. You can send her your book suggestions at mlc.carmel1@gmail.com.

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