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A person with mental illness will sometimes gradually lose grasp on reality with almost savage intensity. The implosion permanently scars the lives of those it touches. That's the theme of Kilborn, a novel about the downward spiral of mental illness caused by the death of Drake Kilborn's mother. He has reutrned to his hometown to help run the family crop-spraying business, but fails to adjust to loss with catastrophic results.
He complicates the life of his widower father, who is attempting to keep the family business together, lurks in the shadows of a high-school sweetheart's life and takes short cuts with dangerous chemicals that result in the death of a company employee.
The relationship between a businessman/farmer and the episcopal priest in the slowly-dying small west Texas town offers occasional ''normalcy breathers'' for the readers who feel the undercurrent of doom growing stronger with each page.
The critical outsider in Drake Kilborn's life is a Texas Ranger working undercover to build a criminal case about the illegal use of crop defoliants. He finds himself swept up in the turmoil of Kilborn's final days and becomes a critical player in the chain of events which lead to dramatic demise in an encounter with a primal beast with an insatiable thirst for flesh and blood.