The page-turner Fourmile is a taut and well-written story with the feel of a western that will appeal to mature middle grade boys or young teens--even reluctant readers. Foster's loneliness is palpable, and he desperately wants to connect with someone who can "give him all the answers." His mother's emotionally abusive boyfriend Dax is a heavy drinker who is also cruel to Foster's dog. The stranger, Gary, is an AWOL Iraq Special Forces vet. Gary proves to be just the kind of mentor and defender Foster is looking for, but his arrival also threatens Dax and begins a chain of events that ends in a violent and life-threatening showdown. Gary's short presence in Foster's life proves to be the catalyst for Foster's healing from his father's death and moving on with his life. There is a sense of timelessness to this book--the only clear date indicator is Gary's reference to the Iraq war. Otherwise, the story could have taken place in any of several recent decades. A beloved pet is poisoned and dies. Mild language occurs (cr-p, a-s, h-ll, d-mn). Because of the violence (between the men and toward the dog), this book is probably best-suited for readers somewhat older than the publisher's recommended age of 9-12, but young teens will appreciate Foster's search for connection and answers about life.