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“Exhilarating, relentless, dazzling: the kind of literary slap we like to take smack in the face.” – LIRE

A "Highbrow" and "Brilliant" selection by New York Magazine's Approval Matrix

A New York Post "25 Best Thriller Books of the Summer"

A WYPR, Baltimore’s NPR News Station, “Dazzling Debut”

"Enrapturing." – Vulture

"Haunting." –  Southern Living

"Stay and dwell on each sentence." – Outside Magazine

"Written...so provocatively and viscerally." –  NYLON

"Showcases her talent." – Chicago Review of Books

"DelBianco's arresting, lyrical sentences seem to activate all five senses." – Refinery29

"Furious and electric...the novel succeeds as a viscerally evoked and sparely plotted fever dream, a bleakly realized odyssey through an American west populated by survivors and failed dreamers." –Publishers Weekly, starred review

“You’ll remember the book long after you’ve finished reading it.” – Cowgirl Magazine

"I'm pretty damn excited." Literary Hub

“Rae DelBianco has a big future.” – Le Matin Dimanche

"Denis Johnson's flamboyant lyricism...Cormac McCarthy's implacable vision."
– Jim Shepard, Story Prize winning author of Like You'd Understand Anyway

"With the demon eye of Cormac McCarthy but a fierce heart all her own."
–Julia Glass, National Book Award winning author of Three Junes

"As phantasmagoric as McCarthy and as pitiless as Jim Thompson. A rare treat."
– Joshua Ferris, PEN/ Hemingway winning author of Then We Came to the End

“DelBianco’s captivating debut Rough Animals stakes its claim to the modern Western, substituting assault weapons for six shooters and cartel members for the old fashioned gunslingers, in a story told with a style of classic American grit.”
–Douglas Brunt, New York Times bestselling author of Ghosts of Manhattan and The Means


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Wyatt Smith is 23 years old, with one eye, a twin sister, and a ranch where the body of their father is hidden...

Ever since their father's untimely death five years before, Wyatt Smith and his inseparably close twin sister, Lucy, have scraped by alone on their family's isolated ranch in Box Elder County, Utah. That is until one morning when, just after spotting one of their bulls lying dead in the field, Smith is hit in the arm by a hail of gunfire that takes four more cattle with it. The shooter: a fever-eyed, fearsome girl-child with a TEC-9 in her left hand and a shotgun in her right. They hold the girl captive, but she breaks loose overnight and heads south into the desert. With the dawning realization that the loss of cattle will mean the certain loss of the ranch, Smith feels he has no choice but to go after her and somehow find restitution for what's been lost. 

His decision sets him on an epic twelve-day odyssey through a nightmarish underworld he only half understands; a world that pitches him not only against the primordial ways of men and the beautiful yet brutally unforgiving landscape, but also against himself. As he winds his way down from the mountains of Box Elder to the mesas of Monument Valley and back, Smith is forced to look for the first time at who he is and what he’s capable of, and how those hard truths set him irrevocably apart from the one person he’s ever really known and loved. Steeped in a mythic, wildly alive language of its own, and gripping from the first gunshot to the last, Rough Animals is a tour de force from a powerful new voice.


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Twitter: @raedelbianco
Goodreads: Rough Animals
all other inquiries: info@raedelbianco.com

Represented by Chris Clemans of Janklow & Nesbit (North American rights)
and by Jonny Geller of Curtis Brown (UK, international, and film rights)