** AMERICAN FICTION AWARD FINALIST FOR BEST NEW FICTION 2021 **
** SHELF UNBOUND AWARD FINALIST FOR BEST FICTION 2021 **
Thieves, Beasts & Men is a story that challenges our assumptions of motherhood when far removed from the expectations of society. It explores the notion of regret, and the choices one might make to atone for past mistakes, no matter the cost.
Adelaide has given up on her life of solitude in the Blue Ridge Mountain, content to end it all by the river. Her suicide attempt is unsuccessful, but before she can try again, she discovers an animal has been ransacking her garden. A thief, right under her nose! What begins as curiosity soon spirals into an all-out war against the beast destroying her property.
Assuming the interloper to be a bear or mountain lion, nothing can prepare Adelaide for what she traps in her garden: a feral woman, naked, dirty, communicating only with snarls and growls. And tucked within her arms are two feral children. Believing this to be her opportunity for a fresh start—and her redemption at motherhood —Adelaide captures the children, kidnapping them from their mother.
Though challenged by caring for two scared and uncommunicable children, she’s grateful for her new life. But she must stay vigilant because an angry wild woman now stalks her cabin each night, looking for a way inside.
One day, Adelaide sees a man hiding in the shadows, watching her new family from afar. An evil man from her youth. She thought she’d never have to face him again, but she was wrong. Now Adelaide must prepare for another kind of war, against a very different kind of beast. Because Adelaide knows from experience that he will come for the children.
Unless the wild woman gets to them first.
PRAISE FOR THIEVES, BEASTS & MEN
"Thieves, Beasts & Men is a graceful and brutal debut. It had me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. You will fall in love with Adelaide, the deeply flawed heroine. And the wild family just may break your heart. Dark and powerful, yet light and readable. A huge achievement."
- EVIE WYLD, author of The Bass Rock, Everything Is Teeth, and All the Birds, Singing
"I devoured this book in one sitting. I can't remember the last time a novel grabbed me by the throat with such ferocity and refused to let go until the final page. Thieves, Beasts & Men is a heart-pounding, utterly unique page-turner, as immersive as a dream and as indelible as a tattoo."
- ABBY GENI, author of The Last Animal, The Lightkeepers, and The Wildlands
"An old woman alone in the woods, two feral children and their mother, all of them traumatized by a terrifying monster. In one sense, Thieves, Beasts & Men tells a horror story as old as time. But in Leah's competent hands this darkly exhilarating fantasy becomes a new story, one of loneliness and anguish that lingers, of monsters who never go away but loom and threaten forever. She gives us a deep character study of the monsters that also dwell within ourselves, maiming us and causing us to injure or ostracize all others we encounter, even as we look to them for the possibility of second chances."
- KATHERINE FORBES RILEY, author of The Bobcat
"A temporal fairytale whose lyricism is paired with compelling storytelling. The writing is as urgent, deliciously dark, and as extraordinary as its wild setting and willful heroine. You will do best to savor this triumphant debut."
- ALENA DILLON, author of Mercy House and The Happiest Girl in the World