This collection of short stories is amazing — it is hard to believe it is Watkin's first! The surreal landscapes of her Nevada childhood populate each stunning story, and with this book Watkins cements herself as a truly western writer, managing to claim that designation without delving into the cliches of manifest destiny or the played-out "wild west" routine. But it’s not all descriptions of western topography — Battleborn begins with a semi-autobiographical story in which the author reveals that her father was Charles Manson's right-hand man! Watkins has turned her dramatic history into a brilliant and beautiful work of fiction. - Sarah B.