Outside Valentine by Liza Ward
A Novel

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A debut novelist interweaves a trio of voices-haunting, dangerous, full of longing-mysteriously linked by a shocking crime and the search to heal the past

Many long years have passed since the winter of blinding white when Charles Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate drove across the hushed midwestern landscape and left a trail of blood and pain. So why does Lowell, a Manhattan collector of antiquities, still dream of what happened, despite his wife's best attempts to draw him back and offer comfort? And who is Susan, the teenager who appoints herself a detective, piecing together the story of the murders while wondering if she'll ever be loved like Starkweather loved his girl?

And then there's Caril Ann herself, who takes us back to relive the ride she swears she could not control. It began on the day Charlie first saw her, dangling her bare legs off the edge of a tree house. It ended outside Valentine, Nebraska, on that night when she still believed that life could somehow go back to being normal . . . '

Every so often a novel comes along that is capable of redeeming the losses it so devastatingly conveys. Disturbing, bittersweet, and lyrical, Liza Ward's Outside Valentine is a story of people torn apart by tragedy and yet, finally, transformed by love.

About Liza Ward

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Liza Ward was born in New York City and holds degrees from Middlebury College and the University of Montana. Her stories have been published in The Atlantic Monthly, The Georgia Review, The Antioch Review, and Agni Review. They have also been selected for the 2004 O. Henry Prize Stories and Harcourt's 2004 Best New American Voices collection. She lives in Massachusetts.
Published September 1, 2004 by Henry Holt and Co.. 320 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Outside Valentine

Kirkus Reviews

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Revisiting the 1950s murder spree of Charlie Starkweather and Caril Ann Fugate, romanticized in the classic 1973 movie Badlands, Ward, in her first novel, places her sympathies clearly with the victims.

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The New York Times

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''He loves me so much, it makes him crazy.'' By the time they reach the Bowmans' house (and Starkweather's next three victims), Caril Ann is annoyed -- the way another girl might resent a boyfriend's consuming passion for football -- by all the time and energy Charlie is spending on killing p...

Sep 26 2004 | Read Full Review of Outside Valentine: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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In this riveting literary suspense novel, first-timer Ward presents in lean, luminous prose a precarious world where true love can ravage as well as redeem, exploring a series of murders in Lincoln, Nebr., in the 1950s from the perspective of three narrators.

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Book Reporter

In 1957, Charlie Starkweather and his girlfriend Caril Ann Fugate went on a killing rampage, making the dark days of a brutally cold winter even darker.

Jan 14 2011 | Read Full Review of Outside Valentine: A Novel


Caril Ann Fugate was just 14, eyes twinkling behind long brown hair, and her lover, Charles Starkweather, was 19 and "wiry as a cow dog" when the couple went on a real-life murder rampage in 1958.

Sep 13 2004 | Read Full Review of Outside Valentine: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

Martha Liebrum People Weekly 3.5 of 5 Stars "… improbably sympathetic, fictionalized portrait.

Oct 08 2007 | Read Full Review of Outside Valentine: A Novel

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