Missoula authors released a slew of well-received novels in 2014. Kim Zupan's "The Ploughmen," (Henry Holt) is a contrast in good and evil set in late nights in a county jail between a tortured deputy and unconflicted killer. The novel is Zupan's first published book, but the prose shows years of dedication to the art of the sentence. NPR, meanwhile, called it "stunning" and "absolutely beautiful."

Also released this year was David Allan Cates' novel "Tom Connor's Gift," a story of a widow who revisits letters from an old lover while grieving her husband in a remote cabin.

Gwen Florio published her second novel in her "Montana" trilogy, this one titled "Dakota," which earned her a smattering of good ntoices.

Former Missoulians also made a splash, including Garden City native Smith Henderson, whose novel "Fourth of July Creek" made the New York Times' list of notable books; and Pete Fromm of Great Falls tackled both a love story and life with multiple sclerosis in his novel "If Not for This."