Although set in northern Wisconsin, on the edge of the vast Northwoods, Leaves on Frozen Ground (Guernica, $20) might as well be about Bozeman. Extreme weather, summer tourists and expensive second homes, the wilderness whispering its secrets from the dark timber near town—all these elements ground the reader in familiar terrain. Which sets the stage nicely for the meat of this novel, which is matters of the heart, examined within the arc of an ordinary American family. Author Dave Carty, himself a longtime Bozemanite, crafts a compelling tale of love and loss, of real people and real problems, with an unexpected and deeply moving denouement. From start to finish, Carty’s vivid descriptions, careful character development, and dexterous use of metaphor make this book a pleasure to read. Insightful throughout, at times profound, Leaves on Frozen Ground is the work of a fine writer and keen observer of the human condition.