"Exquisite and gripping. . . . The Gulf is a page turner to be savored; Cochran is a master of both prose and plot."--Ilana Masad, author of All My Mother's Lovers
In this electrifying debut literary thriller, set on the gulf coast of Texas in the 1970s at the height of the women's liberation movement, a closeted young woman attempts to solve her surrogate mother's murder in a tight-knit, religious small town.
In Parson, Texas, a small town ravaged by a devastating hurricane and the Vietnam War, twenty-nine-year-old Lou is diligently renovating a decaying old mansion for Miss Kate, the elderly neighbor who has always been like a mother to her. Mourning her brother's death in Vietnam, Lou dreams of enjoying a more peaceful future in Parson. But those hopes are crushed when Miss Kate is murdered, and no one but Lou seems to care about finding the killer.
The situation becomes complicated when Joanna, Miss Kate's long-estranged daughter and Lou's first love, arrives in Parson--not to learn more about her mother's death but for the house. Her arrival unearths sinister secrets involving the history of the town and its residents . . . revelations that may be the key to helping Lou discover the truth about Miss Kate's death and her killer.
A gorgeously written, gripping story of forbidden love and devastating secrets that is a surprising twist on the traditional small-town story, The Gulf is a riveting and unsettling mystery that holds up a mirror to the values--and failures--of America.