Checking Out: ‘White Horse’

By Hannah Evans

Since The Denver North Star began in 2019, I have written a book review for every issue as the Denver Public Library Smiley Branch’s senior librarian.

I had a great time sharing new reads with Northwest Denver, discovering authors in the community, and highlighting some of the fun and exciting things going on at what is surely Denver’s cutest and most charming branch.

The new year has brought me a new opportunity in the library world, and while I’m excited for this next chapter, it is bittersweet because I have enjoyed my time at Smiley and in the Northside so much. Never fear, though—my amazing coworker, Wendy Thomas, will be picking up with creative, interesting, and thoughtful book reviews next month.

Personally, I still plan to stop by Smiley for their great events and to pick up my library holds on occasion, so I may see you around. For this month and my last review, I am highlighting Erika T. Wurth’s new title, “White Horse” (2022, Flatiron Books).

Wurth’s horror novel veers into mystery as Keri, a woman who lives in Denver and grew up in Idaho Springs, begins looking into the disappearance of her Native American mother after seeing ghostly visions.

Keri frequents the White Horse bar, which readers may recognize as the recently closed Westwood locale just east of Sheridan Boulevard on Alameda Avenue. The Denver connection doesn’t stop there, however—other local favorites receive nods throughout the novel, including Lucille’s, Lakeside, the Tattered Cover, and many more. Keri, a fan of metal in her 30s who worships Dave Mustaine and considers herself firmly grounded in reality, begins seeing gruesome visions of her mother who disappeared when Keri was only two days old.

With few ties to her maternal family and with a father who was impaired by an accident when Keri was just a child, Keri had assumed her mother ran out on her until her visions lead her to question what she does and doesn’t know about her and her family’s past.

Aside from the engaging mystery throughout “White Horse,” those who have spent any amount of time in Denver will have fun recalling all of the spaces and places referenced in the book’s pages. One can’t help but hope that the White Horse bar finds a new owner and reopens for another drink in real life after following Keri’s story.

Check out “White Horse” at your closest Denver Public Library location or as an e-book or e-audiobook on Hannah Evans is the senior librarian at the Smiley Branch of the Denver Public Library.


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