Acclaimed New York Times
bestselling author T.C. Boyle makes his Ecco debut with a powerful,
gripping novel that explores the roots of violence and
anti-authoritarianism inherent in the American character.
Set in contemporary Northern California, The Harder They Come
explores the volatile connections between three damaged people—an aging
ex-Marine and Vietnam veteran, his psychologically unstable son, and
the son's paranoid, much older lover—as they careen towards an explosive
On a vacation cruise to Central
America with his wife, seventy-year-old Sten Stensen unflinchingly kills
a gun-wielding robber menacing a busload of senior tourists. The
reluctant hero is relieved to return home to Fort Bragg, California,
after the ordeal—only to find that his delusional son, Adam, has
spiraled out of control.
Adam has become involved with
Sara Hovarty Jennings, a hardened member of the Sovereign Citizens’
Movement, right-wing anarchists who refuse to acknowledge the laws and
regulations of the state, considering them to be false and
non-applicable. Adam’s senior by some fifteen years, Sara becomes his
protector and inamorata. As Adam's mental state fractures, he becomes
increasingly schizophrenic—a breakdown that leads him to shoot two
people in separate instances. On the run, he takes to the woods,
spurring the biggest manhunt in California history.
As he explores a father’s legacy
of violence and his powerlessness in relating to his equally violent
son, T. C. Boyle offers unparalleled psychological insights into the
American psyche. Inspired by a true story, The Harder They Come is a devastating and indelible novel from a modern master.