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Reviewed by Trevor Otieno for Readers' Favorite
A chilling tale of corporate greed and disregard, These Barren Hills is a must-read. Good jobs, a resurrected contemporary town, and quick money from the sale of their land all tempt people to move in. The majority are unknowingly heading toward calamity. As pertinent as today’s news stories about fracking and mountaintop-removal mining are the heartbreaking battles of small farmers to safeguard the water that is the lifeblood of the land they love and the key to their imperiled livelihood. David J. Heslop describes a multinational business that cares less about the lives of the people living there than it does about the land. Heslop realistically depicts the global corporation as a threat to the way of life of small-town residents who are at odds with it.
I couldn’t stop flipping the pages of These Barren Hills because of its current affairs narrative. The fight between the power of Big Money and the local landowners and farmers serves as the backdrop for the growth of the major characters. There are a ton of fully realized, three-dimensional personalities with real voices in them. The setting in the southern Arizona desert reflects the region’s arid beauty and unique character in a stunning way. I would recommend this book to readers who are interested in the struggle between those who want to protect the environment and those who want to destroy it to boost their quarterly earnings while leaving behind a damaged wasteland for future generations to lament. David J. Heslop has written an exceptional work.