Jesse Reverchon is desperate to fix things.
A ruptured marriage and a slumping literary reputation compel Jesse to a leap of faith. He transplants his corporate wife, Rebecca, and snarky adolescent son, Travis, to the far reaches of West Texas-the mythic Big Bend. Jesse's attempts to acclimate from urban sophistication to Alpine, Texas yield mixed and often comic results as his turbulent personality clashes with the cantankerous, wind-blown eccentrics rooted to the stark, desert mountains as stubbornly as its scrub mesquite.
While Rebecca invests herself into a challenging remodel of the ramshackle family home with the same ambition that built her investment capital firm, Jesse shirks small town contractors and his stalling novel to coach his son's little league baseball team, which consists mostly of alienated, fatherless boys. The obsessive commitment he makes to any project leads to conflict with parents, rival coaches, and most every cowboy he encounters, but especially with the local baseball commissioner, the fiery, free-spirited artist and bar owner, Luz Reyes. Her temperament reflects the daily thunderstorms that drown out the team's much-needed practices until even Jesse realizes he's finally met his match-unless he considers his long-suffering wife. Rebecca expects a return on her investments, and her biggest stake is in her novelist husband's dimming career, which is not paying off and she's rapidly running out of patience.
Tension builds as the "clouds like cathedrals" mass each day over the mountains. As Jesse's hopes blanche beneath the glaring sun and shearing winds of the Chihuahuan Desert, he is also haunted by a family curse-the howling "black dog" that once preyed upon his ruined father. Isolated, confused, frustrated, and now in total fear, Jesse stumbles back into more self-destructive patterns. His personal life crumbles like the basalt bluffs that tower around him, plunging him headlong toward devastating tragedy and loss in the all-or-nothing battle for redemption in a wild and harsh landscape where the mountains are thieves.